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Stefano MARIANI

Ricercatore t.d. art. 24 c. 3 lett. B
Dipartimento di Scienze e Metodi dell'Ingegneria
Docente a contratto
Dipartimento di Scienze e Metodi dell'Ingegneria


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Pubblicazioni

2024 - Agent-based systems in healthcare [Articolo su rivista]
Montagna, Sara; Mariani, Stefano; Schumacher, Michael I.; Manzo, Gaetano
abstract

: This Special Issue is dedicated to discussing which are the advantages, challenges and open issues in the application of the agent-based approach as a part of the digital transformation in the healthcare sector. Agent-based technology in healthcare optimises resource allocation and coordination and supports clinical decision-making. Challenges, such as model reliability and interdisciplinary collaboration, must be addressed for widespread adoption. Embracing this technology promises improved healthcare delivery and better patient outcomes. Six papers, out of the many submitted, have been accepted for publication, each one discussing an aspect of this broad field.


2024 - Distributed Discovery of Causal Networks in Pervasive Environments [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, Stefano; Zambonelli, Franco
abstract


2024 - The Degree of Entanglement: Cyber-Physical Awareness in Digital Twin Applications [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Picone, Marco; Mariani, Stefano; Cavicchioli, Roberto; Burgio, Paolo; Cherif, Arslane Hamza
abstract

A defining feature of a Digital Twin (DT) is its level of "entanglement": the degree of strength to which the twin is interconnected with its physical counterpart. Despite its importance, this characteristic has not been yet fully investigated, and its impact on applications' design is underestimated. In this paper, we define the concept of "Degree of Entanglement" (DoE), which provides an operational model for assessing the strength of the entanglement between a DT and its physical counterpart. We also propose an interoperable representation of DoE within the Web of Things (WoT) framework, which enables DT-driven applications to dynamically adapt to changes in the physical environment. We evaluate our proposal using two realistic use cases, demonstrating the practical utility of DoE in supporting, for instance, context-awareness decisions and adaptiveness.


2023 - A Chatbot-based Recommendation Framework for Hypertensive Patients [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Montagna, Sara; Mariani, Stefano; Pengo, Martino Francesco
abstract


2023 - A Survey on Agents Applications in Healthcare: Opportunities, Challenges and Trends [Articolo su rivista]
Sulis, Emilio; Mariani, Stefano; Montagna, Sara
abstract


2023 - Agents and Digital Twins for the engineering of Cyber-Physical Systems: opportunities, and challenges [Articolo su rivista]
Mariani, S; Picone, M; Ricci, A
abstract

Digital Twins (DTs) are emerging as a fundamental brick of engineering Cyber-Physical Systems (CPSs), but their notion is still mostly bound to specific business domains (e.g. manufacturing), goals (e.g. product design), or applications (e.g. the Internet of Things). As such, their value as general purpose engineering abstractions is yet to be fully revealed. In this paper, we relate DTs with agents and multiagent systems, as the latter are arguably the most rich abstractions available for the engineering of complex socio-technical and CPSs, and the former could both fill in some gaps in agent-oriented software engineering and benefit from an agent-oriented interpretation-in a cross-fertilisation journey.


2023 - Cooperative Driving at Intersections Through Agent-Based Argumentation [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, Stefano; Ferrari, Dario; Zambonelli, Franco
abstract


2023 - Digital Management of Competencies in Web 3.0: The C-Box® Approach [Articolo su rivista]
Francia, Alberto; Mariani, Stefano; Adduce, Giuseppe; Vecchiarelli, Sandro; Zambonelli, Franco
abstract


2023 - Digital Twin & Blockchain: Technology Enablers for Metaverse Computing [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Picone, Marco; Mariani, Stefano; Virdis, Antonio; Castagnetti, Paolo
abstract


2023 - Learning Stigmergic Communication for Self-organising Coordination [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, Stefano; Zambonelli, Franco
abstract


2023 - Multi-agent Learning of Causal Networks in the Internet of Things [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, Stefano; Roseti, Pasquale; Zambonelli, Franco
abstract


2023 - Space-Fluid Adaptive Sampling by Self-Organisation [Articolo su rivista]
Casadei, Roberto; Mariani, Stefano; Pianini, Danilo; Viroli, Mirko; Zambonelli, Franco
abstract


2023 - Special Issue "Advances in Multi-Agent Systems": Editorial [Articolo su rivista]
Mariani, S; Omicini, A
abstract

Multi-agent systems (MAS) are collections of autonomous computational entities (the agents) capable of pro-actively pursuing goals and re-actively adapting to environment change. Agents in MAS exploit their social abilities, interacting with peers, and their situated capabilities as well, by perceiving and acting on the world around them. From distributed computing to intelligent systems, the relevance of agents and MAS as software abstractions is steadily growing as they are extensively and increasingly used to model, simulate, and build heterogeneous systems across a huge variety of diverse application scenarios and business domains, ranging from industrial manufacturing to robotics, from social simulation to applications, and more. The recent, renewed popularity of AI techniques has further spread the adoption of MAS, focusing in particular on the cognitive capabilities of agents, so that intelligent systems can be modelled and built as MAS. Along those lines, this Special Issue gathers five contributions that well represent the many diverse advancements that are currently ongoing in the MAS field.


2023 - Towards Developing Digital Twin Enabled Multi-Agent Systems [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, Stefano; Picone, Marco; Ricci, Alessandro
abstract


2023 - Towards Multi-agent Learning of Causal Networks [Abstract in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, Stefano; Roseti, Pasquale; Zambonelli, Franco
abstract


2022 - About Digital Twins, Agents, and Multiagent Systems: A Cross-Fertilisation Journey [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, Stefano; Picone, Marco; Ricci, Alessandro
abstract

Digital Twins (DTs) are rapidly emerging as a fundamental brick of engineering cyber-physical systems, but their notion is still mostly bound to specific business domains (e.g. manufacturing), goals (e.g. product design), or application domains (e.g. the Internet of Things). As such, their value as general purpose engineering abstractions is yet to be fully revealed. In this paper, we relate DTs with agents and multiagent systems, as the latter are arguably the most rich abstractions available for the engineering of complex socio-technical and cyber-physical systems, and the former could both fill in some gaps in agent-oriented engineering and benefit from an agent-oriented interpretation -- in a cross-fertilisation journey.


2022 - Combining Coordination Strategies for Autonomous Vehicles in Intersections Networks [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Gambelli, Marco; Mariani, Stefano; Cabri, Giacomo; Zambonelli, Franco
abstract


2022 - Individual and Collective Self-Development: Concepts and Challenges [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Lippi, Marco; Mariani, Stefano; Martinelli, Matteo; Zambonelli, Franco
abstract


2022 - Self-Development and Causality in Intelligent Environments [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Martinelli, Matteo; Mariani, Stefano; Lippi, Marco; Zambonelli, Franco
abstract


2022 - Space-Fluid Adaptive Sampling: A Field-Based, Self-organising Approach [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Casadei, Roberto; Mariani, Stefano; Pianini, Danilo; Viroli, Mirko; Zambonelli, Franco
abstract


2022 - Web of Digital Twins [Articolo su rivista]
Ricci, Alessandro; Croatti, Angelo; Mariani, Stefano; Montagna, Sara; Picone, Marco
abstract


2021 - An Adaptive Approach for the Coordination of Autonomous Vehicles at Intersections [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Glorio, Nicholas; Mariani, Stefano; Cabri, Giacomo; Zambonelli, Franco
abstract


2021 - Augmenting BDI Agency with a Cognitive Service: Architecture and Validation in Healthcare Domain [Articolo su rivista]
Montagna, S.; Mariani, S.; Gamberini, E.
abstract

Autonomous intelligent systems are starting to influence clinical practice, as ways to both readily exploit experts’ knowledge when contextual conditions demand so, and harness the overwhelming amount of patient related data currently at clinicians’ disposal. However, these two approaches are rarely synergistically exploited, and tend to be used without integration. In this paper, we follow recent efforts reported in the literature regarding integration of BDI agency with machine learning based Cognitive Services, by proposing an integration architecture, and by validating such architecture in the complex domain of trauma management. In particular, we show that augmentation of a BDI agent, endowed with predefined plans encoding experts’ knowledge, with a Cognitive Service, trained on past observed data, can enhance trauma management by reducing over triage episodes.


2021 - Coordination of Autonomous Vehicles: Taxonomy and Survey [Articolo su rivista]
Mariani, Stefano; Cabri, Giacomo; Zambonelli, Franco
abstract

In the near future, our streets will be populated by myriads of autonomous self-driving vehicles to serve our diverse mobility needs. This will raise the need to coordinate their movements in order to properly handle both access to shared resources (e.g., intersections and parking slots) and the execution of mobility tasks (e.g., platooning and ramp merging). The aim of this paper is to provide a global view of the coordination issues and the related solutions in the field of autonomous vehicles. To this end, we firstly introduce the general problems associated with coordination of autonomous vehicles, by identifying and framing the key classes of coordination problems. Then, we overview the different approaches that can be adopted to deal with such problems, by classifying them in terms of the degree of autonomy in decision making that is left to autonomous vehicles during the coordination process. Finally, we overview some further research challenges to address before autonomous coordinated vehicles can safely hit our streets.


2021 - Developing a 'Sense of Agency' in IoT Systems: Preliminary Experiments in a Smart Home Scenario [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Lippi, M.; Mariani, S.; Zambonelli, F.
abstract

Smart IoT systems are increasingly required to take decisions and act in contexts that are only partially known, or that dynamically evolve through time. Therefore, they should become able to to autonomously learn models of their context, there included a model of the effects of their own actions on it (that is, developing a 'sense of agency'). This would enable them to learn how to act purposefully towards the achievement of specific goals. In this paper we propose a general-purpose Bayesian learning approach to build such context models and the associated sense of agency, and present some promising preliminary experiments performed in a smart home scenario.


2021 - Developing an ML pipeline for asthma and COPD: The case of a Dutch primary care service [Articolo su rivista]
Mariani, S.; Lahr, M. M. H.; Metting, E.; Vargiu, E.; Zambonelli, F.
abstract

A complex combination of clinical, demographic and lifestyle parameters determines the correct diagnosis and the most effective treatment for asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease patients. Artificial Intelligence techniques help clinicians in devising the correct diagnosis and designing the most suitable clinical pathway accordingly, tailored to the specific patient conditions. In the case of machine learning (ML) approaches, availability of real-world patient clinical data to train and evaluate the ML pipeline deputed to assist clinicians in their daily practice is crucial. However, it is common practice to exploit either synthetic data sets or heavily preprocessed collections cleaning and merging different data sources. In this paper, we describe an automated ML pipeline designed for a real-world data set including patients from a Dutch primary care service, and provide a performance comparison of different prediction models for (i) assessing various clinical parameters, (ii) designing interventions, and (iii) defining the diagnosis.


2021 - Time-Fluid Field-Based Coordination through Programmable Distributed Schedulers [Articolo su rivista]
Pianini, Danilo; Casadei, Roberto; Viroli, Mirko; Mariani, Stefano; Zambonelli, Franco
abstract

Emerging application scenarios, such as cyber-physical systems (CPSs), the Internet of Things (IoT), and edge computing, call for coordination approaches addressing openness, self-adaptation, heterogeneity, and deployment agnosticism. Field-based coordination is one such approach, promoting the idea of programming system coordination declaratively from a global perspective, in terms of functional manipulation and evolution in "space and time" of distributed data structures called fields. More specifically regarding time, in field-based coordination it is assumed that local activities in each device are regulated by a fair and unsynchronised fixed clock working at the platform level. In this work, we challenge this assumption, and propose an alternative approach where scheduling is programmed in a natural way (along with usual field-based coordination) in terms of causality fields, each enacting a programmable distributed notion of a computational "cause" (why and when a field computation has to be locally computed) and how it should change across time and space. Starting from low-level platform triggers, such causality fields can be organised into multiple layers, up to defining high-level, collectively-computed time abstractions, to be used at the application level. This reinterpretation of the traditional view of time in terms of articulated causality relations allows us to express what we call "time-fluid" coordination, where scheduling can be finely tuned so as to select the triggers to react to, generally allowing to adaptively balance performance (system reactivity) and cost (resource usage) of computations. We formalise the proposed scheduling framework for field-based coordination in the context of the field calculus, discuss an implementation in the aggregate computing framework, and finally evaluate the approach via simulation on several case studies.


2021 - WIP: Preliminary evaluation of digital twins on MEC software architecture [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Picone, M.; Mariani, S.; Mamei, M.; Zambonelli, F.; Berlier, M.
abstract

Digital Twins (DTs) are becoming a reference design abstraction for many Internet of Things (IoT) application scenarios. Also, data processing is shifting to a decentralised setting leveraging the edge computing paradigm to move computation closer to the physical devices. In this context, Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) technologies on 5G cellular networks are redefining the IoT networking infrastructure by enabling ultra low latency, and reliable and responsive connectivity. However, evaluation of the MEC architecture from the application developer standpoint is currently missing from literature, as well as an assessment of performance while adopting DT on top of MEC. Therefore, this paper reports on a MEC implementation based on OpenNESS toolkit, in the context of DT-based mobility, and an evaluation of its service-level performance.


2020 - Blockchain-based coordination: Assessing the expressive power of smart contracts [Articolo su rivista]
Ciatto, G.; Mariani, S.; Maffi, A.; Omicini, A.
abstract

A common use case for blockchain smart contracts (SC) is that of governing interaction amongst mutually untrusted parties, by automatically enforcing rules for interaction. However, while many contributions in the literature assess SC computational expressiveness, an evaluation of their power in terms of coordination (i.e., governing interaction) is still missing. This is why in this paper we test mainstream SC implementations by evaluating their expressive power in coordinating both inter-users and inter-SC activities. To do so, we exploit the archetypal LINDA coordination model as a benchmark-a common practice in the field of coordination models and languages-by discussing to what extent mainstream blockchain technologies support its implementation. As they reveal some notable limitations (affecting, in particular, coordination between SC) we then show how Tenderfone, a custom blockchain implementation providing for a more expressive notion of SC, addresses the aforementioned limitations.


2020 - Complementing Agents with Cognitive Services: A Case Study in Healthcare [Articolo su rivista]
Montagna, S.; Mariani, S.; Gamberini, E.; Ricci, A.; Zambonelli, F.
abstract

Personal Agents (PAs) have longly been explored as assistants to support users in their daily activities. Surprisingly, few works refer to the adoption of PAs in the healthcare domain, where they can assist physicians’ activities reducing medical errors. Although literature proposes different approaches for modelling and engineering PAs, none of them discusses how they can be integrated with cognitive services in order to empower their reasoning capabilities. In this paper we present an integration model, specifically devised for healthcare applications, that enhances Belief-Desire-Intention agents reasoning with advanced cognitive capabilities. As a case study, we adopt this integrated model in the critical care path of trauma resuscitation, stepping forward to the vision of Smart Hospitals.


2020 - Degrees of Autonomy in Coordinating Collectives of Self-Driving Vehicles [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, S.; Zambonelli, F.
abstract

Our streets will be soon populated by multitudes of self-driving vehicles, calling for appropriate solutions to coordinate their collective movements in order to ensure safety and efficiency. In this paper, after introducing the general issues associated to coordination of self-driving vehicles, we show that a key engineering issue is identifying the most suitable degree of autonomy in decision making that should be left to vehicles during the coordination process. This issue also includes the possibility, depending on factors such as traffic conditions or the need to enact specific mobility policies, to dynamically adjust such degree of autonomy and thus the adopted coordination scheme. This introduces many theoretical and practical challenges in modelling self-driving vehicles coordination schemes and in their rigorous engineering, as in the case of intersection crossing, analysed in the paper.


2020 - From Agents to Blockchain: Stairway to Integration [Articolo su rivista]
Ciatto, Giovanni; Mariani, Stefano; Omicini, Andrea; Zambonelli, Franco
abstract


2020 - Guest Editorial: Healthcare Intelligent Multi Agent Systems [Articolo su rivista]
Vaughan, N.; Vargiu, E.; Mariani, S.; Montagna, S.; Schumacher, M. I.
abstract


2020 - Smart Contracts are More than Objects: Pro-activeness on the Blockchain [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Ciatto, Giovanni; Maffi, Alfredo; Mariani, Stefano; Omicini, Andrea
abstract


2020 - Special Issue “Multi-Agent Systems”: Editorial [Articolo su rivista]
Mariani, Stefano; Omicini, Andrea
abstract


2020 - Time-fluid field-based coordination [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Pianini, D.; Mariani, S.; Viroli, M.; Zambonelli, F.
abstract

Emerging application scenarios, such as cyber-physical systems (CPSs), the Internet of Things (IoT), and edge computing, call for coordination approaches addressing openness, self-adaptation, heterogeneity, and deployment agnosticism. Field-based coordination is one such approach, promoting the idea of programming system coordination declaratively from a global perspective, in terms of functional manipulation and evolution in “space and time” of distributed data structures, called fields. More specifically, regarding time, in field-based coordination it is assumed that local activities in each device, called computational rounds, are regulated by a fixed clock, typically, a fair and unsynchronized distributed scheduler. In this work, we challenge this assumption, and propose an alternative approach where the round execution scheduling is naturally programmed along with the usual coordination specification, namely, in terms of a field of causal relations dictating what is the notion of causality (why and when a round has to be locally scheduled) and how it should change across time and space. This abstraction over the traditional view on global time allows us to express what we call “time-fluid” coordination, where causality can be finely tuned to select the event triggers to react to, up to to achieve improved balance between performance (system reactivity) and cost (usage of computational resources). We propose an implementation in the aggregate computing framework, and evaluate via simulation on a case study.


2020 - Twenty years of coordination technologies: COORDINATION contribution to the state of art [Articolo su rivista]
Ciatto, Giovanni; Mariani, Stefano; Di Marzo Serugendo, Giovanna; Louvel, Maxime; Omicini, Andrea; Zambonelli, Franco
abstract


2019 - Argumentation-based coordination in IoT: A speaking objects proof-of-concept [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, S.; Bicego, A.; Lippi, M.; Mamei, M.; Zambonelli, F.
abstract

Coordination of Cyberphysical Systems is an increasingly relevant concern for distributed systems engineering, mostly due to the rise of the Internet of Things vision in many application domains. Against this background, Speaking Objects has been proposed as a vision of future smart objects coordinating their collective perception and action through argumentation. Along this line, in this paper we describe a Proof-of-Concept implementation of the Speaking Objects vision in a smart home deployment.


2019 - Case studies for a new IoT programming paradigm: Fluidware [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, S.; Casadei, R.; Fornari, F.; Fortino, G.; Pianini, D.; Re, B.; Russo, W.; Savaglio, C.; Viroli, M.; Zambonelli, F.
abstract

A number of scientific and technological advancements enabled turning the Internet of Things vision into reality. However, there is still a bottleneck in designing and developing IoT applications and services: each device has to be programmed individually, and services are deployed to specific devices. The Fluidware approach advocates that to truly scale and raise the level of abstraction a novel perspective is needed, focussing on device ensembles and dynamic allocation of resources. In this paper, we motivate the need for such a paradigm shift through three case studies emphasising a mismatch between state of art solutions and desired properties to achieve.


2019 - Comparative analysis of blockchain technologies under a coordination perspective [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Ciatto, G.; Bosello, M.; Mariani, S.; Omicini, A.
abstract

Many research works apply blockchain technologies to several different application domains ranging from supply chain and logistics to healthcare and real-estate. There, nevertheless, the blockchain performs the same two core tasks: identity management and asset tracking. In this paper we analyse how the blockchain can be exploited beyond these traditional tasks, towards coordination of distributed processes. To this end, we design and develop proof-of-concept implementations of the Linda model on top of different blockchains, and compare their strengths and shortcomings.


2019 - Coordination in Socio-technical Systems: Where are we now? Where do we go next? [Articolo su rivista]
Mariani, S.
abstract

Despite Socio-Technical Systems (STS) have been defined and described long ago, and dedicated software engineering techniques and guidelines have been designed and assessed in different application domains, the issue of coordinating people and software artefacts in these STS has been widely recognised only recently, and gained momentum to generate some promising engineering approaches. In this paper, we aim to shed some light into the current status of the research landscape concerned with engineering coordination within STS. Accordingly, we highlight the main challenges yet to be tackled as stemming from real world problems, present the opportunities to deal with them as arising from different research threads, and delve into a few selected coordination approaches for specific STS application domains.


2019 - Deliver intelligence to integrate care: the Connecare way [Abstract in Rivista]
Mariani, Stefano; Vargiu, Eloisa; Mamei, Marco; Zambonelli, Franco; Miralles, Felip
abstract


2019 - Distributed Speaking Objects: A Case for Massive Multiagent Systems [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Lippi, M.; Mamei, M.; Mariani, S.; Zambonelli, F.
abstract

Smart sensors and actuators, embedding learning and reasoning features and associated to everyday objects and locations, will soon densely populate our everyday environments. Being capable of understanding, reasoning, and reporting about what is happening (for sensors) and about what they can make possibly happen (for actuators), these “speaking objects” will thus be assimilable to autonomous situated agents. Accordingly, populations of speaking objects will define dense and massive multiagent systems, devoted to monitor and control our environments, let them be homes, industries or, in the large-scale, whole cities. In this context, the necessary coordination among speaking objects will be likely to become associated with the capability of argumenting about situations and about the current state of the affairs, triggering and directing proper distributed conversations, and eventually collectively reach future desirable state of the affairs. In this article, we detail the speaking objects vision, overview the key enabling technologies, and analyze the key challenges for engineering large-scale collectives of speaking objects and their conversations.


2019 - Evaluating origin–destination matrices obtained from CDR data [Articolo su rivista]
Mamei, M.; Bicocchi, N.; Lippi, M.; Mariani, S.; Zambonelli, F.
abstract

Understanding and correctly modeling urban mobility is a crucial issue for the development of smart cities. The estimation of individual trips from mobile phone positioning data (i.e., call detail records (CDR)) can naturally support urban and transport studies as well as marketing applications. Individual trips are often aggregated in an origin–destination (OD) matrix counting the number of trips from a given origin to a given destination. In the literature dealing with CDR data there are two main approaches to extract OD matrices from such data: (a) in time-based matrices, the analysis focuses on estimating mobility directly from a sequence of CDRs; (b) in routine-based matrices (OD by purpose) the analysis focuses on routine kind of movements, like home-work commute, derived from a trip generation model. In both cases, the OD matrix measured by CDR counts is scaled to match the actual number of people moving in the area, and projected to the road network to estimate actual flows on the streets. In this paper, we describe prototypical approaches to estimate OD matrices, describe an actual implementation, and present a number of experiments to evaluate the results from multiple perspectives.


2019 - Logic programming as a service in multi-agent systems for the Internet of Things [Articolo su rivista]
Calegari, R; Denti, E; Mariani, S; Omicini, A
abstract

The widespread diffusion of low-cost computing devices, along with improvements of cloud computing platforms, is paving the way towards a whole new set of opportunities for Internet of Things (IoT) applications and services. Varying degrees of intelligence are required for supporting adaptation and self-management: yet, they should be provided in a light-weight, easy to use and customisable highly-interoperable way. In this paper we explore Logic Programming as a Service (LPaaS) as a novel and promising re-interpretation of distributed logic programming in the IoT era. After introducing the reference context and motivating scenarios of LPaaS as an effective enabling technology for intelligent IoT, we define the LPaaS general architecture, and discuss two different prototype implementations - as a web service and as an agent in a multi-agent system (MAS), both built on top of the tuProlog system, which provides the required interoperability and customisation. We finally showcase the LPaaS potential through two case studies, designed as simple examples of the motivating scenarios.


2019 - Risk prediction as a service: A DSS architecture promoting interoperability and collaboration [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, S.; Zambonelli, F.; Tenyi, A.; Cano, I.; Roca, J.
abstract

Clinical research and practice are rapidly changing mostly due to Information and Communication Technology, especially, as Machine Learning (ML) offers great potential for predictive and personalised medicine. Nevertheless, barriers are still existing for widespread adoption of ML tools, as highlighted by studies from the European Union. In this paper, we propose an architecture for a Decision Support System assisting clinicians in assessing health risk of patients by delivering 'Risk Prediction as a Service'. By leveraging standard web technologies as well as the PMML and PFA formats for exchange of trained models, we achieve ubiquitous access to predictions, ease of deployment, and seamless interoperability, while promoting collaboration.


2019 - Special Issue ``Multi-Agent Systems'': Editorial [Articolo su rivista]
Mariani, Stefano; Omicini, Andrea
abstract

Multi-agent systems (MAS) allow and promote the development of distributed and intelligent applications in complex and dynamic environments. Applications of this kind have a crucial role in our everyday life, as witnessed by the broad range of domains they are deployed to---such as manufacturing, management sciences, e-commerce, biotechnology, etc. Despite heterogeneity, those domains share common requirements such as autonomy, structured interaction, mobility, and openness---which are well suited for MAS. Therein, in fact, goal-oriented processes can enter and leave the system dynamically and interact with each other according to structured protocols. This special issue gathers 17 contributions spanning from agent-based modelling and simulation to applications of MAS in situated and socio-technical systems.


2019 - Towards Agent-Oriented Blockchains: Autonomous Smart Contracts [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Ciatto, G.; Maffi, A.; Mariani, S.; Omicini, A.
abstract

Features of blockchain technology (BCT) such as decentralisation, trust, fault tolerance, and accountability, are of paramount importance for multi-agent systems (MAS). In this paper we argue that a principled approach to MAS-BCT integration cannot overlook the foundational character of agency—that is, autonomy. Accordingly, we present a custom BCT implementation where autonomy is placed in smart contracts (SC) interpreted as software agents. We show how agency can enhance SC expressiveness with autonomy, situatedness, sociality, and intelligence, and highlight the limitations of state-of-art BCT in supporting MAS design and implementation.


2019 - TuSoW: Tuple spaces for edge computing [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Ciatto, G.; Rizzato, L.; Omicini, A.; Mariani, S.
abstract

Edge Computing is rapidly gaining traction in scenarios such as Cyber-Physical Systems and Web of Things. Whereas the Cloud hides heterogeneity of devices behind its standard interfaces and protocols, the Edge should deal with it, as well as with embracing openness and governing interactions. In this paper we propose TuSoW as a model and technology for bringing tuple-based coordination to the Edge.


2019 - ViTALiSE: Virtual to Augmented Loop in Smart Environments [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, S; Croatti, A; Ricci, A; Prati, A; Vizzari, G
abstract

Future workplaces will be smart environments providing human users with features and functionalities augmenting their capabilities while lowering their cognitive/physical efforts. ViTALiSE is a vision of future smart environments integrating Human-Agent Collectives (HAC) with Digital Twins (DTs) fostering the synergistic interplay between the physical and digital reality.


2018 - An Argumentation-based Perspective over the Social IoT [Articolo su rivista]
Lippi, Marco; Mamei, Marco; Mariani, Stefano; Zambonelli, Franco
abstract

The crucial role played by social interactions between smart objects in the Internet of Things is being rapidly recognized by the Social Internet of Things (SIoT) vision. In this paper, we build upon the recently introduced vision of Speaking Objects – “things” interacting through argumentation – to show how different forms of human dialogue naturally fit cooperation and coordination requirements of the SIoT. In particular, we show how speaking objects can exchange arguments in order to seek for information, negotiate over an issue, persuade others, deliberate actions, and so on, namely, striving to reach consensus about the state of affairs and their goals. In this context, we illustrate how argumentation naturally enables such a form of conversational coordination through practical examples and a case study scenario.


2018 - Blockchain for Trustworthy Coordination: A First Study with LINDA and Ethereum [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Ciatto, G.; Mariani, S.; Omicini, A.
abstract

Blockchain technologies are rapidly gaining attention in the multi-agent systems (MAS) community to face critical issues such as trust, secured communications, and data consistency. In particular, the notion of smart contract can be exploited to deploy trustworthy computations automatically executed by the network in a consistent way. MAS coordination - modelling and engineering of agents interaction in a MAS - thus represents an appealing application field for smart contracts, potentially enabling fully-decentralised, trustworthy coordination. Along this line, we focus on the Ethereum blockchain technology, map it onto LINDA tuple-based coordination model, and discuss two proof-of-concept implementations of LINDA on Ethereum. We hence demonstrate conceptual and technical feasibility of blockchain-based coordination in MAS, while emphasising issues of applying the blockchain beyond accountability and identity management.


2018 - Coordination of complex socio-technical systems: Challenges and opportunities [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, S.
abstract

The issue of coordination in Socio-Technical Systems (STS) mostly stems from “humans-in-the-loop”: besides software-software we have software-human interactions to handle, too. Also, a number of peculiarities and related engineering challenges make a socio-technical gap easy to rise, in the form of a gap between what the computational platform provides, and what the users are expecting to have. In this paper we try to shed some light on the issue of engineering coordination mechanisms and policies in STS. Accordingly, we highlight the main challenges, the opportunities we have to deal with them, and a few selected approaches for specific STS application domains.


2018 - From the Blockchain to Logic Programming and Back: Research Perspectives [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Ciatto, Giovanni; Calegari, Roberta; Mariani, Stefano; Denti, Enrico; Omicini, Andrea
abstract

The blockchain is a novel approach to support distributed systems enabling a common, consistent view of a shared state among distributed nodes. There, smart contracts are computer programs that allow users to deploy arbitrary computations, in charge of automatically regulate state transitions and enforce properties. In this paper we speculate on how the blockchain and smart contracts could take advantage of a logic programming approach, and, complementarily, on how logic programming can benefit from the blockchain infrastructure. Accordingly, we discuss some possible research directions and open questions for future research.


2018 - Intelligent agents and environment [Voce in Dizionario o Enciclopedia]
Garro, A.; Muhlhauser, M.; Tundis, A.; Mariani, S.; Omicini, A.; Vizzari, G.
abstract

This article aims to provide a panorama of the fundamentals related to Agents. Specifically, the most popular definitions behind the concept of Intelligent Agents and the main properties that characterize an agent are discussed along with different agent-based models. Furthermore, the concept of Environment as well as its properties and the role that it plays in the context of the agent paradigm are presented. Actions and Interactions among agents and environment are also discussed before contextualizing the role of Intelligent Agents in the Computational Biology domain.


2018 - LPaaS as Micro-Intelligence: Enhancing IoT with Symbolic Reasoning [Articolo su rivista]
Calegari, Roberta; Ciatto, Giovanni; Mariani, Stefano; Denti, Enrico; Omicini, Andrea
abstract


2018 - Logic programming as a service [Articolo su rivista]
Calegari, R.; Denti, E.; Mariani, S.; Omicini, A.
abstract

New generations of distributed systems are opening novel perspectives for logic programming (LP): On the one hand, service-oriented architectures represent nowadays the standard approach for distributed systems engineering; on the other hand, pervasive systems mandate for situated intelligence. In this paper, we introduce the notion of Logic Programming as a Service (LPaaS) as a means to address the needs of pervasive intelligent systems through logic engines exploited as a distributed service. First, we define the abstract architectural model by re-interpreting classical LP notions in the new context; then we elaborate on the nature of LP interpreted as a service by describing the basic LPaaS interface. Finally, we show how LPaaS works in practice by discussing its implementation in terms of distributed tuProlog engines, accounting for basic issues such as interoperability and configurability.


2018 - Logic programming in space-time: The case of situatedness in LPaaS [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Calegari, R.; Ciatto, G.; Mariani, S.; Denti, E.; Omicini, A.
abstract

Situatedness is a fundamental requirement for today's complex software systems, as well as for the computational models and programming languages used to build them. Spatial and temporal situatedness, in particular, are essential features for AI, enabling actors of the system to take autonomous decisions contextual to the space-time they live in. To support spatiotemporal awareness in distributed pervasive systems, we adopt the standpoint of Logic Programming (LP) by focussing on the Logic Programming as a Service (LPaaS) approach, promoting the distribution of situated intelligence. Accordingly, we provide an interpretation about what it means to make LP span across space and time, then we extend the LPaaS model and architecture towards spatio-temporal situatedness, by identifying a set of suitably-expressive spatio-temporal primitives.


2018 - Micro-intelligence for the IoT: SE challenges and practice in LPaaS [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Calegari, R.; Ciatto, G.; Mariani, S.; Denti, E.; Omicini, A.
abstract

Distributing situated intelligence in Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) to realise the vision of Internet of Intelligent Things (IoIT) raises issues of efficiency and scalability - in particular when dealing with huge numbers of physical objects. Such issues do not just regard the application or service logic and runtime, but also impact on the software development process. Moving from the notion of Logic Programming as a Service (LPaaS) - a re-interpretation of distributed logic programming tailored to the IoT era - in this paper we describe how its architecture and development process deals with the aforementioned issues from a software engineering standpoint, by discussing the design, development practices, and delivery means of the LPaaS technology.


2018 - Programming the Interaction Space Effectively with extsfReSpecTX [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Ciatto, Giovanni; Mariani, Stefano; Omicini, Andrea
abstract

The lack of a suitable toolchain for programming the inter- action space with coordination languages hinders their adoption in the industry, and limits their application as core calculus, proof-of-concept frameworks, or rapid prototyping / simulation environments. In this paper we present the ReSpecTX language and toolchain as a first step toward closing the gap, by equipping a core coordination language (ReSpecT) with tools and features commonly found in mainstream programming languages, improving likelihood of adoption in real-world scenarios.


2018 - ReSpecTX: Programming interaction made easy [Articolo su rivista]
Ciatto, G.; Mariani, S.; Omicini, A.
abstract

In this paper we present the ReSpecTX language, toolchain, and standard library as a first step of a path aimed at closing the gap between coordination languages – mostly a prerogative of the academic realm until now – and their industrial counterparts. Since the limited adoption of coordination languages within the industrial realm is also due to the lack of suitable toolchains and libraries of reusable mechanisms, ReSpecTX equips a core coordination language (ReSpecT) with tools and features commonly found in mainstream programming languages. In particular, ReSpecTX makes it possible to provide a reference library of reusable and composable interaction patterns.


2018 - Spatial Tuples: Augmenting reality with tuples [Articolo su rivista]
Ricci, A.; Viroli, M.; Omicini, A.; Mariani, S.; Croatti, A.; Pianini, D.
abstract

We introduce Spatial Tuples, an extension of the basic tuple-based model for distributed multi-agent system coordination where (a) tuples are conceptually placed in regions of the physical world and possibly move anchored to a mobile computational device, (b) the behaviour of standard Linda coordination primitives is extended so as to depend on the spatial properties of the coordinating agents, tuples, and the topology of space, and (c) the tuple space can be conceived as a virtual layer augmenting physical reality. Motivated by the needs of mobile augmented-reality applications, Spatial Tuples explicitly aims at supporting space-aware and space-based coordination in agent-based pervasive computing scenarios. This paper presents the coordination model, its formalization as a process algebra, a library of patterns of coordination it enables, and a discussion of application scenarios, challenges, and open issues for future works.


2018 - Transparent protection of aggregate computations from Byzantine behaviours via blockchain [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Pianini, D.; Mariani, S.; Ciatto, G.; Viroli, M.; Casadei, R.; Omicini, A.
abstract

Aggregate Computing is a promising paradigm for coordinating large numbers of possibly situated devices, typical of scenarios related to the Internet of Things, smart cities, drone coordination, and mass urban events. Currently, little work has been devoted to study and improve security in aggregate programs, and existing works focus solely on application-level countermeasures. Those security systems work under the assumption that the underlying computational model is respected; however, so-called Byzantine behaviour violates such assumption. In this paper, we discuss how Byzantine behaviours can hinder an aggregate program, and exploit application-level protection for creating bigger disruption. We discuss how the blockchain technology can mitigate these attacks by enforcing behaviours consistent with the expected operational semantics, with no impact on the application logic.


2018 - Twenty years of coordination technologies: State-of-the-art and perspectives [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Ciatto, Giovanni; Mariani, Stefano; Louvel, Maxime; Omicini, Andrea; Zambonelli, Franco
abstract

Since complexity of inter- and intra-systems interactions is steadily increasing in modern application scenarios (e.g., the IoT), coordination technologies are required to take a crucial step towards maturity. In this paper we look back at the history of the COORDINATION conference in order to shed light on the current status of the coordination technologies there proposed throughout the years, in an attempt to understand success stories, limitations, and possibly reveal the gap between actual technologies, theoretical models, and novel application needs.


2017 - Coordinating Distributed Speaking Objects [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Lippi, Marco; Mamei, Marco; Mariani, Stefano; Zambonelli, Franco
abstract

In this paper we sketch a vision of future environments densely populated by smart sensors and actuators-possibly embedded in everyday objects-that, rather than simply producing streams of data, are capable of understanding and reporting, via factual assertions and arguments, about what is happening (for sensors) and about what they can make possibly happen (for actuators). These 'speaking objects' form the nodes of a dense distributed computing infrastructure that can be exploited to monitor and control activities in our everyday environment. However, the nature of speaking objects will dramatically change the approaches to implementing and coordinating the activities of distributed processes. In fact, distributed coordination is likely to become associated with the capability of argumenting about situations and about the current 'state of the affairs', with the aim of triggering and directing proper distributed 'conversations' to collectively reach a future desirable state. Accordingly, we discuss how such a novel vision can build upon some readily available technologies, and the research challenges that it poses. Two case studies are used as exemplary scenarios.


2017 - Logic Programming as a Service (LPaaS): Intelligence for the IoT [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Roberta, Calegari; Enrico, Denti; Mariani, Stefano; Andrea, Omicini
abstract

The widespread diffusion of low-cost computing devices, such as Arduino boards and Raspberry Pi, along with improvements of Cloud computing platforms, are paving the way towards a whole new set of opportunities for Internet of Things (IoT) applications and services. Varying degrees of intelligence are often required for supporting adaptation and self-management—yet, they should be provided in a light-weight, easy to use and customise, highly-interoperable way. Accordingly, in this paper we explore the idea of Logic Programming as a Service (LPaaS) as a novel and promising re-interpretation of distributed logic programming in the IoT era. After introducing the reference context and motivating scenarios of LPaaS as a key enabling technology for intelligent IoT, we define the LPaaS general system architecture. Then, we present a prototype implementation built on top of the tuProlog system, which provides the required interoperability and customisation. We showcase the LPaaS potential through a case study designed as a simplification of the motivating scenarios.


2017 - Novel Opportunities for Tuple-based Coordination: XPath, the Blockchain, and Stream Processing [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, Stefano; Omicini, Andrea; Ciatto, Giovanni
abstract

The increasing maturity of some well-established technologies – such as XPath – along with the sharp rise of brand-new ones – i.e. the blockchain – presents new opportunities to researchers in the field of multi-agent coordination. In this position paper we briefly discuss a few technologies which, once suitably interpreted and integrated, have the potential to impact the very roots of tuple-based coordination as it stems from the archetypal LINDA model.


2017 - Spatial Tuples: Augmenting Physical Reality with Tuple Spaces [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Ricci, Alessandro; Viroli, Mirko; Omicini, Andrea; Mariani, Stefano; Croatti, Angelo; Pianini, Danilo
abstract

We introduce Spatial Tuples, an extension of the basic tuple-based model for distributed multi-agent system coordination where (i) tuples are conceptually placed in the physical world and possibly move, (ii) the behaviour of coordination primitives may depend on the spatial properties of the coordinating agents, and (iii) the tuple space can be conceived as a virtual layer augmenting physical reality. Motivated by the needs of mobile augmented-reality applications, Spatial Tuples explicitly aims at supporting space-aware and space-based coordination in agent based pervasive computing scenarios.


2017 - State-of-the-Art and Trends in Nature-inspired Coordination Models [Articolo su rivista]
Mariani, Stefano; Omicini, Andrea
abstract

Mostly stemming from closed parallel systems, coordination models and technologies gained in scope and expressive power so as to deal with complex distributed systems. In particular, in the last decade nature-inspired coordination (NIC) models emerged as the most effective approaches to tackle the complexity of pervasive, intelligent, and self-* systems. In this review paper we discuss their evolution, by analysing the main motivations behind the research effort on NIC, the foremost features of the most successful models, and the key issues and challenges they bring along.


2017 - Towards Argumentation-based Recommendations for Personalised Patient Empowerment [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Juan Manuel Fernandez, ; Mamei, Marco; Mariani, Stefano; Felip, Miralles; Alexander, Steblin; Vargiu, Eloisa; Zambonelli, Franco
abstract

Patient empowerment is a key issue in healthcare. Approaches to increase patient empowerment encompass patient self-management programs. In this paper we present ArgoRec, a recommender system that exploits argumentation for leveraging explanatory power and natural language interactions so as to improve patients' user experience and quality of recommendations. ArgoRec is part of a great effort concerned with supporting complex chronic patients in, for instance, their daily life activities after hospitalisation, pursued within the CONNECARE project by following a co-design approach to define a comprehensive Self-Management System.


2016 - Coordination of Complex Sociotechnical Systems: Self-organisation of Knowledge in MoK [Monografia/Trattato scientifico]
Mariani, Stefano
abstract

The book discusses the main issues of coordination in complex sociotechnical systems, covering distributed, self-organising, and pervasive systems. A chemistry-inspired model of coordination, a situated architecture and coordination language, and a cognitive model of interaction are the ingredients of the Molecules of Knowledge (MoK) model for self-organisation of knowledge presented in this book. The MoK technology is discussed, along with some case studies in the fields of collaborative systems, academic research, and citizen journalism. The target audience includes researchers and practitioners in the field of complex software systems engineering. The book is also appropriate for graduate and late undergraduate students in computer science and engineering.


2016 - Game Engines to Model MAS: A Research Roadmap [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, Stefano; Omicini, Andrea
abstract

Game engines are gaining increasing popularity in various computational research areas, and in particular in the context of Multi-Agent Systems (MAS)—for instance, to render augmented reality environments, improve immersive simulation infrastructures, and so on. Existing examples of successful integration between game engines and MAS still focus on specific technology-level goals, rather than on shaping a general-purpose game-based agent-oriented infrastructure. In this roadmap paper, we point out the conceptual issues to be faced to exploit game engines as agent-oriented infrastructures, and outline a possible research roadmap to follow, backed up by some early experiments involving the Unity3D engine.


2016 - Multi-paradigm Coordination for MAS: Integrating Heterogeneous Coordination Approaches in MAS Technologies [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, Stefano; Omicini, Andrea
abstract

Open distributed multi-agent systems featuring autonomous components demand coordination mechanisms for both functional and non-functional properties. Heterogeneity of requirements regarding interaction means and paradigms, stemming from the diverse nature of components, should not affect the effectiveness of coordination. Along this line, in this paper we share our pragmatical experience in the integration of objective and subjective, synchronous and asynchronous, reactive and pro-active coordination approaches within two widely-adopted agent-oriented technologies (JADE and Jason), enabling coordinating components to dynamically adapt their interaction means based on static preference or run-time contingencies.


2016 - Towards Logic Programming as a Service: Experiments in \sf tuProlog [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Calegari, Roberta; Denti, Enrico; Mariani, Stefano; Omicini, Andrea
abstract

In this paper we explore the perspective of Logic Programming as a Service (LPaaS), with a broad notion of “service” going beyond the mere handling of the logic engine lifecycle, knowledge base management, reasoning queries execution, etc. In particular, we present tuProlog as-a-service, a Prolog engine based on the tuProlog core made available as an encapsulated service to effectively support the spreading of intelligence in pervasive systems—mainly, Internet-of-Things (IoT) applications scenarios. So, after recalling the main features of tuProlog technology, we discuss the design and implementation of tuProlog as-a-service, focussing in particular on the iOS platform because of the many supported smart devices (phones, watches, etc.), the URL-based communication support among apps, and the multi-language resulting scenarios.


2016 - Towards logic programming as a service: Experiments in tuprolog [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Calegari, R.; Denti, E.; Mariani, S.; Omicini, A.
abstract

In this paper we explore the perspective of Logic Programming as a Service (LPaaS), with a broad notion of "service" going beyond the mere handling of the logic engine lifecycle, knowledge base management, reasoning queries execution, etc. In particular, we present tuProlog as-a-service, a Prolog engine based on the tuProlog core made available as an encapsulated service to effectively support the spreading of intelligence in pervasive systems-mainly, Internet-of-Things (IoT) application scenarios. So, after recalling the main features of tuProlog technology, we discuss the design and implementation of tuProlog as-a-service, focussing in particular on the iOS platform because of the many supported smart devices (phones, watches, etc.), the URL-based communication support among apps, and the multi-language resulting scenarios.


2015 - Anticipatory coordination in socio-technical knowledge-intensive environments: Behavioural implicit communication in MoK [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, Stefano; Omicini, Andrea
abstract

Some of the most peculiar traits of socio-technical KIE (knowledge-intensive environments) – such as unpredictability of agents’ behaviour, ever-growing amount of information to manage, fast-paced production/consumption – tangle coordination of information, by affecting, e.g., reachability by knowledge prosumers and manageability by the IT infrastructure. Here, we propose a novel approach to coordination in KIE, by extending the MoK model for knowledge self-organisation with key concepts from the cognitive theory of BIC (behavioural implicit communication).


2015 - Blending event-based and multi-agent systems around coordination abstractions [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Omicini, Andrea; Fortino, Giancarlo; Mariani, Stefano
abstract

While event-based architectural style has become prevalent for large-scale distributed applications, multi-agent systems seemingly provide the most viable abstractions to deal with complex distributed systems. In this position paper we discuss the role of coordination abstractions as a basic brick for a unifying conceptual framework for agent based and event-based systems, which could work as the foundation of a principled discipline for the engineering of complex software systems.


2015 - Coordinating activities and change: An event-driven architecture for situated MAS [Articolo su rivista]
Mariani, Stefano; Omicini, Andrea
abstract

Agent activities and environment change are what make things happen in a multi-agent system (MAS). Complexity in a MAS comes from non-trivial dependencies between activities (social interaction), and between activities and environment change (situated interaction). As they are used to manage social (agent-agent) dependencies, coordination artefacts could also be used to govern situated (agent-environment) dependencies. Along this line, in this paper we propose an event-driven architecture for complex MAS that exploits coordination to handle all sorts of dependencies in a uniform way. We first motivate the underlying meta-model and put some well-known agent-based frameworks in perspective, then we discuss its general articulation along with its reification within the TuCSoN coordination middleware.


2015 - Developing pervasive multi-agent systems with nature-inspired coordination [Articolo su rivista]
Zambonelli, Franco; Omicini, Andrea; Anzengruber, Bernhard; Castelli, Gabriella; De Angelis, Francesco L.; Serugendo, Giovanna Di Marzo; Dobson, Simon; Fernandez Marquez, Jose Luis; Ferscha, Alois; Mamei, Marco; Mariani, Stefano; Molesini, Ambra; Montagna, Sara; Nieminen, Jussi; Pianini, Danilo; Risoldi, Matteo; Rosi, Alberto; Stevenson, Graeme; Viroli, Mirko; Ye, Juan
abstract

Pervasive computing systems can be modelled effectively as populations of interacting autonomous components. The key challenge to realizing such models is in getting separately-specified and -developed sub-systems to discover and interoperate with each other in an open and extensible way, supported by appropriate middleware services. In this paper, we argue that nature-inspired coordination models offer a promising way of addressing this challenge. We first frame the various dimensions along which nature-inspired coordination models can be defined, and survey the most relevant proposals in the area. We describe the nature-inspired coordination model developed within the SAPERE project as a synthesis of existing approaches, and show how it can effectively support the multifold requirements of modern and emerging pervasive services. We conclude by identifying what we think are the open research challenges in this area, and identify some research directions that we believe are promising.


2015 - Models of autonomy and coordination: Integrating subjective and objective approaches in agent development frameworks [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, Stefano; Omicini, Andrea; Sangiorgi, Luca
abstract

Objective and subjective approaches to coordination constitute two complementary approaches, which, being both essential in MAS engineering, require to be suitably integrated. In this paper, we (i) observe that a successful integration depends on the models of autonomy and coordination promoted by agent technologies, (ii) suggest that ignoring the two models may hinder agent autonomy, (iii) provide an example of “autonomy-preserving” integration by discussing TuCSoN4JADE.


2015 - Reconciling event- and agent-based paradigms in the engineering of complex systems: The role of environment abstractions [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Omicini, Andrea; Mariani, Stefano
abstract

In spite of the growing influence of agent-based models and technologies, the event-based architectural style is still prevalent in the design of large-scale distributed applications. In this paper we discuss the role of environment in both EBS and MAS, and show how it could be used as a starting point for reconciling agent-based and event-based abstractions and techniques within a conceptually-coherent framework that could work as the foundation of a principled discipline for the engineering of complex software systems.


2014 - Coordination Mechanisms for the Modelling and Simulation of Stochastic Systems: The Case of Uniform Primitives [Articolo su rivista]
Mariani, Stefano; Omicini, Andrea
abstract

Since interaction is a foremost source of system complexity, coordination mechanisms are essential for the modelling and simulation of complex systems. By focussing on stochastic systems, in this paper we discuss the role of uniform primitives as the nature-inspired coordination mechanism that could work as the core of a coordination-based complex system simulator.


2014 - Coordination in Situated Systems: Engineering MAS Environment in TuCSoN [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, Stefano; Omicini, Andrea
abstract

Multi-agent systems (MAS) provide a well-founded approach to the engineering of situated systems, where governing the interaction of a multiplicity of autonomous, distributed components with the environment represents one of the most critical issues. By interpreting situatedness as a coordination issue, in this paper we describe the TuCSoN coordination architecture for situated MAS, and show how the corresponding TuCSoN coordination technology can be effectively used for engineering MAS environment.


2014 - Coordination-aware elasticity [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, Stefano; Truong, Hong Linh; Copil, Georgiana; Omicini, Andrea; Dustdar, Schahram
abstract

Enabling and controlling elasticity of cloud computing applications is a challenging issue. Elasticity programming directives have been introduced to delegate elasticity control to infrastructures and to separate elasticity control from application logic. Since coordination models provide a general approach to manage interaction and elasticity control entails interactions among cloud infrastructure components, we present a coordination-based approach to elasticity control, supporting delegation and separation of concerns at design and run-time, paving the way towards coordination-aware elasticity.


2014 - On the 'local-to-global' issue in self-organisation: Chemical reactions with custom kinetic rates [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, Stefano
abstract

The 'local-to-global' issue in self-organisation is about finding a way to engineer local mechanisms according to the emergent, global behaviour desired for the system at hand. In this paper, we propose an approach to deal with such issue, by modelling the local mechanisms as artificial chemical reactions and by carefully designing their kinetic rates as 'custom' functional expressions.


2014 - TuCSoN Coordination for MAS Situatedness: Towards a Methodology [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, Stefano; Omicini, Andrea
abstract

Agent-based technologies embed solutions for critical issues in agent-oriented software engineering. In this paper we describe the coordination-based approach to MAS situatedness as promoted by the TuCSoN middleware, by sketching the steps of an agent-oriented methodology from the TuCSoN meta-model down to the TuCSoN programming environment.


2013 - Agents & multiagent systems: En route towards complex intelligent systems [Articolo su rivista]
Omicini, Andrea; Mariani, Stefano
abstract

Research on agents, intelligent agents, and multiagent systems (MAS) has been one of the most lively areas in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) field in the last years. Moving from basic theoretical and technological issues, MAS research has gone beyond the limits of classical (distributed) AI, spreading to apparently distant fields like software engineering, pervasive computing, self-organisation, simulation—essentially dealing with complexity of artificial systems, according to most of the legitimate acceptations of the term. In this paper, we devise out the main development lines of MAS research, and put them in historical perspective by focussing on the last decades of research in Italy.


2013 - Coordination for Situated MAS: Towards an Event-driven Architecture [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Omicini, Andrea; Mariani, Stefano
abstract

Complex software systems modelled as multi-agent systems (MAS) are characterised by activities that are generated either by agents, or by the environment in its most general acceptation—that is, environmental resources and the spatio-temporal fabric. Modelling and engineering complex multi-agent systems (MAS) – such as pervasive, adaptive, and situated MAS – requires then to properly handle diverse classes of events: agent operations, resource events, spatio-temporal situation. In the following, first we devise out the requirements for a software architecture for an agent-based middleware based on boundary artefacts, then we sketch a concrete architecture based on the TuCSoN middleware for MAS coordination.


2013 - Event-driven programming for situated MAS with respect tuple centres [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, Stefano; Omicini, Andrea
abstract

We advocate the role of tuple-based coordination languages as effective tools for event-driven programming of situated multi-agent systems (MAS). By focussing on logic-based coordination artefacts, we discuss the benefits of exploiting ReSpecT tuple centres as event-driven abstractions for MAS coordination. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


2013 - MOK: Stigmergy meets chemistry to exploit social actions for coordination purposes [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, Stefano; Omicini, Andrea
abstract

Socio-technical systems are becoming increasingly complex mostly due to the unpredictability of human interactions. Furthermore, they typically work within Knowledge Intensive Environments (KIE), hence they need to deal with huge amounts of data. Coordination models are meant to cope with the increasing complexity of software systems, mostly due to the unwanted non-determinism generated by the interaction within complex systems. In this paper we describe how social actions - performed by agents interacting in a shared environment - can be exploited by a novel model for the coordination of KIE, by adopting both a nature-inspired and a cognitive/behavioural standpoint.


2013 - Molecules of knowledge: Self-organisation in knowledge-intensive environments [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, Stefano; Omicini, Andrea
abstract

We propose a novel self-organising knowledge-oriented model based on biochemical tuple spaces, called Molecules of Knowledge (MoK). We introduce MoK basic entities, define its computational model, and discuss its mapping on the TuCSoN coordination model for its implementation.


2013 - Parameter Engineering vs. Parameter tuning: The case of biochemical coordination in MoK [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, Stefano
abstract

To cope with nowadays MAS complexity, nature-inspired coordination models and languages gained increasing attention: in particular, biochemical coordination models. Being intrinsically stochastic and self-organising, the effectiveness of their outcome likely depends on a correct parameter tuning stage. In this paper, we focus on chemical reactions rates, showing that simply imitating chemistry "as it is" may be not enough for the purpose of effectively engineer complex, self-organising coordinated systems such as MoK.


2013 - Probabilistic embedding: Experiments with tuple-based probabilistic languages [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, Stefano; Omicini, Andrea
abstract

We introduce probabilistic (modular) embedding as an extension to the well-known notion of modular embedding [5] conceived to capture the expressiveness of stochastic systems, focussing here on tuple-based probabilistic languages. Copyright 2013 ACM.


2013 - Probabilistic modular embedding for stochastic coordinated systems [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, Stefano; Omicini, Andrea
abstract

Embedding and modular embedding are two well-known techniques for measuring and comparing the expressiveness of languages-sequential and concurrent programming languages, respectively. The emergence of new classes of computational systems featuring stochastic behaviours - such as pervasive, adaptive, self-organising systems - requires new tools for probabilistic languages. In this paper, we recall and refine the notion of probabilistic modular embedding (PME) as an extension to modular embedding meant to capture the expressiveness of stochastic systems, and show its application to different coordination languages providing probabilistic mechanisms for stochastic systems. © 2013 IFIP International Federation for Information Processing.


2013 - Promoting Space-Aware Coordination: \sf ReSpecT as a Spatial-Computing Virtual Machine [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, Stefano; Omicini, Andrea
abstract

Situatedness is a fundamental requirement for today’s complex software systems—as well as for the computation models and programming languages used to build them. Spatial situatedness, in particular, is an essential feature for coordination models and languages, as they represent the most effective approach to face the critical issues of interaction. Following some seminal works on the subject, in this paper we try to bring some novel results from the Coordination field into the Spatial Computing perspective, by identifying a minimal set of primitives that could be used to build a virtual machine for a space-aware coordination language, using ReSpecT as our reference example.


2013 - Space-aware coordination in ReSpecT [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, Stefano; Omicini, Andrea
abstract

Spatial issues are essential in new classes of complex software systems, such as pervasive, multi-agent, and self-organising ones. Understanding the basic mechanisms of spatial coordination is a fundamental issue for coordination models and languages in order to deal with such systems, governing situated interaction in the spatio-temporal fabric. Along this line, in this paper we make space-aware coordination media out of ReSpecT tuple centres, by introducing the few basic mechanisms and constructs that enable the ReSpecT language to face most of the main challenges of spatial coordination in complex software systems.


2013 - TuCSoN on Cloud: An event-driven architecture for embodied/disembodied coordination [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, Stefano; Omicini, Andrea
abstract

The next generation of computational systems is going to mix up pervasive scenarios with cloud computing, with both intelligent and non-intelligent agents working as the reference component abstractions. A uniform set of MAS abstractions expressive enough to deal with both embodied and disembodied computation is required, in particular when dealing with the complexity of interaction. Along this line, in this paper we define an event-driven coordination architecture, along with a coherent event model, and test it upon the TuCSoN model and technology for MAS coordination. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2013.


2013 - Tuple-based coordination of stochastic systems with uniform primitives [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, Stefano; Omicini, Andrea
abstract

Complex computational systems - such as pervasive, adaptive, and self-organising ones - typically rely on simple yet expressive coordination mechanisms: this is why coordination models and languages can be exploited as the sources of the essential abstractions and mechanisms to build such systems. While the features of tuple-based models make them well suited for complex system coordination, they lack the probabilistic mechanisms for modelling the stochastic behaviours typically required by adaptivity and self-organisation. To this end, in this paper we explicitly introduce uniform primitives as a probabilistic specialisation of standard tuple-based coordination primitives, replacing don't know non-determinism with uniform distribution. We define their semantics and discuss their expressiveness and their impact on system predictability.


2012 - Molecules of knowledge: A novel perspective over knowledge management [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, Stefano; Omicini, Andrea
abstract

To face the challenges of knowledge-intensive environments, we investigate a novel self-organising knowledge-oriented (SOKO) model, called Molecules of Knowledge (MoK for short). In MoK, knowledge atoms are generated by knowledge sources in shared spaces - compart- ments -, self-aggregate to shape knowledge molecules, and autonomously move toward knowledge consumers.


2012 - Self-organising news management: The Molecules of Knowledge approach [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, Stefano; Omicini, Andrea
abstract

Nowadays, news management systems present new critical challenges in the knowledge management process: the ever-increasing amount of information to handle, its heterogeneity in structure, and the pace at which it is made available are just a few to mention. Features such as autonomy and self-organisation are essential to face challenges of such a sort: along this line, in this paper we discuss the application of the Molecules of Knowledge (MoK) model to news management. In particular, we show how to integrate the state-of-art international standards for news representation and dissemination in MoK. To this end, we define the MoK-News domain-specific model, and present our first experiments in self-organising knowledge-oriented coordination for news management. © 2012 IEEE.