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Handling Multiple Responses

Next we tested our method of handling multiple simultaneous responses to a single message. Placing all 11 agents within hearing range, a single agent periodically sent a ``where are you'' message to the entire team and recorded the responses it received. In all cases, all 10 teammates heard the original message and responded. However, as shown in Table 6, the use of our method dramatically increased the number of responses that got through to the sending agent. When the team used communicate-delay as specified in Section 6, message responses were staggered over the course of about 2.5 seconds, allowing most of the 10 responses to get through. When all agents responded at once (no delay), only one response (from a random teammate) was heard.

Table 6: The number of responses that get through to agents when responses are delayed and when they are not. When the team uses communicate-delay as specified in Section 6, an average of 7.1 more responses get through than when not using it. Average response time remains under one second. Both experiments were performed 50 times.

Peter Stone
Thu Dec 17 15:26:44 EST 1998