Creating a Modeling Language Based on a New Metamodel for Adaptive Normative Software Agents
IEEE Access, vol. 10, pp. 13974-13996 (2022)
Marx Viana, Paulo Alencar, Everton Guimarães, Elder Cirilo, Carlos Lucena
The demand for creating increasingly dynamic, autonomous and proactive software systems is challenging for the traditional Multi-agent Systems (MASs) approaches. Such requirement has given rise to adaptive software agents approaches. At the same time, norm is an essential and challenging feature that still tends to be addressed in adaptive MAS. In fact, norms to regulate agent behavior is still a vague concept that has not been properly investigated in terms of modeling and implementation. Even though many researchers have proposed modeling languages to deal with different abstractions, these languages fail to support the modeling of abstractions, such as adaptation and norms. Even more severe is the fact that little has been done to support the systematic design of Adaptive Normative Multi-Agent Systems (ANMASs). To facilitate the design and development of ANMASs, this paper presents a new metamodel, as well as language support, as means to provide tools to enable software developers. The proposed metamodel fosters a better understanding of the way agents are able to change their behaviors to deal with norms and captures interactions between agent’s norms and adaptation. To this end, our research is organized into five steps: (i) a literature review to identify the limitations of existing approaches related to ANMAS modeling; (ii) propose a new metamodel to support adaptative and normative concepts; (iii) propose a new language for modeling ANMASs; (iv) perform a qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the proposed language using a real case scenario, and (v) an empirical evaluation. The proposed metamodel and its associated modeling language advances the state of the art in modeling MASs and the approach is assessed in terms of correctness, time and difficulty. Our initial results revealed that our approach can be feasibly applied in a real world application, and is less difficult to apply and requires less time in comparison with a traditional approach. As software applications become more dynamic and adaptive, we believe it is essential to support developers to model MASs with abstractions such as adaptive agents, norms and their relationships. Such information can be foundational to steer future research on modeling adaptive agents capable of understanding and dealing with norms and adaptation.