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Along with the Adaptive Systems section at the NCARAI and the Distributed Robotics lab at the University of Wyoming, we have been involved in developing a principled method for constructing modular, heterogeneous swarms.  The NCCS lab uses this method for developing high-level modular designs of multi-agent teams.

The method generalizes Dr. Spears’ artificial physics based technique for representing swarm behaviors by providing explicit notions of agent and interaction specialization. Additionally, our method uses a novel graph-based design tool for swarm-based behaviors for multi-agent teams. This method includes engineer-provided knowledge through explicit design decisions pertaining to specialization, heterogeneity, and modularity. The representational power of our generalized representation and design methods has been demonstrated on a variety of problems, including a well-known multi-agent resource protection problem.  Using our approach, it is straight forward to construct modular designs by hand, resulting in scalable and intuitive heterogeneous solutions.