ECAgents: Embodied and Communicating Agents

ECAgents is a project sponsored by the Future and Emerging Technologies program of the European Community (IST-1940). The aim of the project is the development of a new generation of embodied agents that are able to interact directly (i.e., without human intervention) with the physical world and to communicate between them and with other agents (including humans).

Video that introduces the ECAgents Project
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This will be achieved through the development of new design principles, algorithms, and mechanisms that can extend the functionality of existing technological artefacts (mobile phone, WI-FI devices, robots and robot-like artefacts, etc.) and can lead to the development of new artefacts.

The project will develop concepts, tools, and models for analysing collections of both natural and artificial agents, and algorithms, definitions of dynamical systems, and performance analysis tools for designing artefacts that consist of evolving populations of interacting and communicating embodied agents.

The project will investigate basic properties of different communication systems, from simple communication systems in animals to human language and technology-supported human communication, to clarify the nature of existing communications systems and to provide ideas for designing new technologies based on collections of embodied and communicating devices.

                                        Three SONY AIBOs paying attention to an object.

The project, which is firmly rooted in the most innovative and advanced IT-technology that will become widespread in the coming 10 years, includes partners that are already doing concrete experiments with robots, wireless devices, ubiquitous environments, and living systems including humans. However, its main focus is on the development of scientific foundations by using methods, insights, and techniques from complex systems research. An evolving communication system and its underlying adaptive ontology will be viewed as a complex adaptive system, and evolutionary theory, information theory, game theory, network theory, and dynamical systems theory will all significantly contribute to its study. There is today still a tremendous gap (with some notable counter-examples) between complex systems research and IT, but this project is determined to bridge this gap for an issue of major importance. The results of the project might trigger significant breakthroughs in many future and emergent technologies, from self-developing robots to the semantic web and ubiquitous wireless devices.

Project coordinator: Dr. Stefano Nolfi - CNR-ISTC

ECAgents project started
on Janury 1,2004
We are at month 45
of project life-time.
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