Computational Modelling Group

Seminar  17th March 2011 4 p.m.  Building 67 (Nightingale), Room 1007

Computational Service Economies: Design and Applications

Professor Nick Jennings
University of Southampton

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Agents, Artificial Neural Networks, Complex Systems, Computer Science, Economic Networks, Evolutionary Algorithms, Game Theory, Pervasive computing, Sensor Networks, Social and Socio-economic Systems, Software Engineering, Value-driven design
James Snowdon

Professor Nick Jennings’ major research interest is in agent technology and the way in which agents can perform human tasks in industry.

Many modern computing systems have to operate in environments that are highly interconnected, highly unpredictable, without a central control authority, and in which the constituent components are owned by a variety of stakeholders that each have their own aims and objectives.

Relevant exemplars include the Web, Grid Computing, Peer-to-Peer systems, Pervasive Computing and many eCommerce applications. Now, I believe that all of these systems can operate under the same fundamental conceptual model:

  • (i) entities offer a variety of services in some form of institutional setting;
  • (ii) other entities connect to these services (covering issues such as service discovery, service composition and service procurement);
  • (iii) entities enact services in a flexible and context sensitive manner. Moreover, I believe agent-based computing is an appropriate computational model for such systems.

In particular, autonomous agents are a natural way of viewing flexible service providers and consumers and the interactions between these autonomous components are naturally modeled as some form of economic trading process that, if successful, results in a transaction between the agents involved.

In this talk, the focus will be on the methods and techniques for designing the electronic institutions and the interaction strategies of the participants. In so doing, I will touch upon techniques from the areas of game theory, auctions, coalition formation, automated negotiation and computational mechanism design. Relevant exemplars of applications built using such techniques in the domains of sensor networks, virtual organisations, and disaster response will also be discussed.