Peter Stone's Selected Publications

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Task Decomposition, Dynamic Role Assignment, and Low-Bandwidth Communication for Real-Time Strategic Teamwork

Peter Stone and Manuela Veloso. Task Decomposition, Dynamic Role Assignment, and Low-Bandwidth Communication for Real-Time Strategic Teamwork. Artificial Intelligence, 110(2):241–273, June 1999.
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Abstract

Multi-agent domains consisting of teams of agents that need to collaborate in an adversarial environment offer challenging research opportunities. In this article, we introduce periodic team synchronization (PTS) domains as time-critical environments in which agents act autonomously with low communication, but in which they can periodically synchronize in a full-communication setting. The two main contributions of this article are a flexible team agent structure and a method for inter-agent communication in domains with unreliable, single-channel, low-bandwidth communication. First, the novel team agent structure allows agents to capture and reason about team agreements. We achieve collaboration between agents through the introduction of formations. A formation decomposes the task space defining a set of roles. Homogeneous agents can flexibly switch roles within formations, and agents can change formations dynamically, according to pre-defined triggers to be evaluated at run-time. This flexibility increases the performance of the overall team. Our teamwork structure further includes pre-planning for frequent situations. Second, the novel communication method is designed for use during the low-communication periods in PTS domains. It overcomes the obstacles to inter-agent communication in multi-agent environments with unreliable, high-cost, low-bandwidth communication. We fully implemented both the flexible teamwork structure and the communication method in the domain of simulated robotic soccer, and conducted controlled empirical experiments to verify their effectiveness. In addition, our simulator team made it to the semi-finals of the RoboCup-97 competition, in which 29 teams participated. It achieved a total score of 67--9 over six different games, and successfully demonstrated its flexible teamwork structure and inter-agent communication.

BibTeX Entry

@Article(AIJ99, 
      Author="Peter Stone and Manuela Veloso",
      Title="Task Decomposition, Dynamic Role Assignment, and Low-Bandwidth Communication for Real-Time Strategic Teamwork",  
      Journal="Artificial Intelligence",
      Year="1999",month="June",
      volume="110",number="2",pages="241--273",
      abstract={
                Multi-agent domains consisting of teams of agents that
                need to collaborate in an adversarial environment
                offer challenging research opportunities. In this
                article, we introduce periodic team
                synchronization (PTS) domains as time-critical
                environments in which agents act autonomously with low
                communication, but in which they can periodically
                synchronize in a full-communication setting.  The two
                main contributions of this article are a flexible team
                agent structure and a method for inter-agent
                communication in domains with unreliable,
                single-channel, low-bandwidth communication. First,
                the novel team agent structure allows agents to
                capture and reason about team agreements.  We achieve
                collaboration between agents through the introduction
                of formations. A formation decomposes the task
                space defining a set of roles. Homogeneous
                agents can flexibly switch roles within formations,
                and agents can change formations dynamically,
                according to pre-defined triggers to be evaluated at
                run-time. This flexibility increases the performance
                of the overall team.  Our teamwork structure further
                includes pre-planning for frequent situations.
                Second, the novel communication method is designed for
                use during the low-communication periods in PTS
                domains.  It overcomes the obstacles to inter-agent
                communication in multi-agent environments with
                unreliable, high-cost, low-bandwidth communication.
                We fully implemented both the flexible teamwork
                structure and the communication method in the domain
                of simulated robotic soccer, and conducted controlled
                empirical experiments to verify their effectiveness.
                In addition, our simulator team made it to the
                semi-finals of the RoboCup-97 competition, in
                which 29 teams participated. It achieved a total score
                of 67--9 over six different games, and successfully
                demonstrated its flexible teamwork structure and
                inter-agent communication.
     },
     wwwnote={<a href="http://www.cs.utexas.edu/~pstone/Papers/99aij/teamwork.html">HTML version</a>.},
)

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