Designing a Family of Coordination Algorithms

Keith S. Decker and Victor R. Lesser

Many researchers have shown that there is no single best organization or coordination mechanism for all environments. This paper discusses the design and implementation of an extendable family of coordination mechanisms, called Generalized Partial Global Planning (GPGP). The set of coordination mechanisms described here assists in scheduling activities for teams of cooperative computational agents. The GPGP approach has several unique features. First, it is not tied to a single domain. Each mechanism is defined as a response to certain features in the current task environment. We show that different combinations of mechanisms are appropriate for different task environments. Secondly, the approach works in conjunction with an agent’s existing local planner/scheduler. Finally, the initial set of five mechanisms presented here generalizes and extends the Partial Global Planning (PGP) algorithm. In comparison to PGP, GPGP considers tasks with deadlines, it allows agent heterogeneity, it exchanges less global information, and it communicates at multiple levels of abstraction.

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