Lee McCauley and Stan Franklin
In the US Navy, at the end of each sailor’s tour of duty, he or she is assigned to a new job. The Navy employs some 280 people, called detailers, full time to effect these new assignments. The IDA (Intelligent Distribution Agent) prototype was designed and built to automate, in a cognitively plausible manner, the job of the human detailers. That model is being redesigned to function as a multi-agent system. This is not a trivial matter due to the fact that there would need to be approximately 350,000 individual agents. There are also many issues relating to how the agents interact and how all entities involved, including humans, exercise their autonomy. This paper describes both the IDA prototype and the Multi-Agent IDA system being created from it. We will also discuss several of the major issues regarding the design, interaction, and autonomy of the various agents involved.