The following are descriptions of things I and my students are currently working on. All fall within the research area of multiagent systems, and are closely related to the problem of coordinating a set of agents.
We have been working on the problem of how one agent, which receives information from other agents that it trusts to some degree, can use that information in making decisions about what to do.
Parsons, S., Sklar, E. and McBurney, P. Using argumentation to reason with and about trust, Proceedings of the 8th Workshop on Argumentation in Multiagent Systems, Taipei, Taiwan, 2011.
Parsons, S., Sklar, E. and McBurney, P. A simple logical approach to reasoning with and about trust, Proceedings of the AAAI Spring Symposium on Logical Formalizations of Commonsense Reasoning, Stanford, 2011.
A particular focus of our current work in this area is using argumentation to determine security policies for computer systems, an area where information is frequently conflicting and comes from sources that may not be entirely trustworthy.
Tang, Y., Norman, T. and Parsons, S. A model for integrating dialogue and the execution of joint plans, Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems, Budapest, Hungary, 2009.
Nielsen, S. and Parsons, S. An application of formal argumentation: Fusing Bayesian networks in multi-agent systems, Artificial Intelligence, 171(10-15), 754-775, 2007.
Parsons, S., Wooldridge, M., and Amgoud, L. Properties and complexity of formal inter-agent dialogues. Journal of Logic and Computation, 13(3), 347-376, 2003.
McBurney, P. and Parsons, S. Games that agents play: A formal framework for dialogues between autonomous agents. Journal of Logic, Language and Information, 11(3), 315-334, 2002.
One of the problems in deploying auctions is knowing what kind of auction to use for a particular task, a problem exacerbated by the fact that it seems that different tasks require different auctions. I have been looking at the use of evolutionary computing as a means of generating auction mechanisms. This approach it possible to customise auctions to specific tasks, and can make the choice of auction robust against exploitation by traders who use the auction.
Niu, J., Cai, K., Parsons, S., McBurney, P., and Gerding, E. What the 2007 TAC Market Design Game tells us about effective auction mechanisms, Journal of Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, 21(2):172-203, 2010.
Phelps, S., McBurney, P. and Parsons, S. Evolutionary mechanism design: A review, Journal of Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, 21(2):237-264, 2010.
Phelps, S., McBurney, P. and Parsons, S. A novel method for strategy acquisition and its application to a double-auction market game, IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics, Part B: Cybernetics, 40(3):668-674, 2010.
Tuyls, K. and Parsons, S. What evolutionary game theory tells us about multiagent learning, Artificial Intelligence, 171(7), 406--416, 2007.
From 2002 until 2008 we had a team in the RoboCup Standard Platform League team, MetroBots which took part in a number of RoboCup competitions, and this led to work on new approaches to walking in legged robots.
More recently we have been looking explicitly at multirobot coordination in Urban Search and Rescue.
The work on new approaches to walking was funded by the Bipedal project, supported by the NSF through an MRI grant.
Marcinkiewicz, M., Kaushik, R., Labutov, I., Parsons, S. and Raphan, T. Learning to stabilize the head of a walking quadrupedal robot using a bio-inspired artificial vestibular system, Proceedings of the International Conference on Robotics and Automation 2009.
Kaushik, R., Marcinkiewicz, M., Xiao, J., Parsons, S., and Raphan, T. Implementation of bio-inspired vestibular-ocular reflex in a quadrupedal robot, Proceedings of the International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Rome, 2007.