Forum Numerica - The Forest Behind the Trees: Rethinking Multi-Agent Systems for the World Wide Web


University of St Gallen, Switzerland



Video / Presentation

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The World Wide Web has evolved drastically over the past decade – and the proliferation of Web APIs has turned it into the middleware of choice for most distributed systems. The recent focus on hypermedia-driven APIs together with initiatives such as the Web of Things and Linked Data are now promoting and advancing the development of a new generation of dynamic, open, and long-lived systems on the Web. This evolution raises new challenges: to discover, consume, and integrate hypermedia-driven APIs at runtime, Web clients have to become increasingly autonomous in pursuit of their design objectives. Such autonomous systems have been studied to a large extent in research on multi-agent systems (MAS). This talk explores the intersection of Web and MAS research, and discusses a new class of MAS designed for the Web. These MAS, which we call Hypermedia MAS, use hypermedia as a general mechanism for uniform interaction such that they are aligned with the Web architecture and inherit its properties. The talk covers several demonstrators, in particular a prototypical system for industrial manufacturing developed at Siemens Corporate Technology, and discusses some of the challenges and implications of bringing autonomous systems on the Web.

About the speaker

Andrei Ciortea is a postdoctoral researcher with the Chair for Interaction- and Communication-based Systems at the University of St. Gallen (HSG), and an external collaborator of the Wimmics team at Inria, Université Côte d'Azur, CNRS, I3S. His main research interests include Internet-scale multi-agent systems (MAS), hypermedia systems, Web of Things (WoT), and socio-technical networks. Prior to joining HSG, Andrei had a 6-month research visit with Siemens’ Web of Things research group in Berkeley, California, where he was the principal investigator and lead architect of a system for intelligent manufacturing that integrated MAS with WoT systems. Andrei is a participant to the W3C WoT Working Group, and a founding member of the Romanian Association for Artificial Intelligence (ARIA). In ARIA, he served as a member of the board of directors since 2011. Andrei obtained his PhD in January 2016 from Mines Saint-Étienne and University "Politechnica" of Bucharest (joint supervision).