CSCE 782: Multiagent systems

A hands-on approach

Instructor: José M. Vidal
My Homepage:
Class Homepage:
Office:SWE 3A51
Office Hours: Generally Tuesdays and Thursday 3:00-4:30pm, but check my Calendar for the latest info, or email me for appointment.
Class Meeting Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:00am-12:15pm
Class Meeting Room: Swearingen Room 2A27
Textbook: Multiagent Systems: A Modern Approach to Distributed Artificial Intelligence. Edited by Gerhard Weiss.

Problem Set Percentage of Final Grade
PS 1 (Programming) 5%
PS 2 5%
PS 3 (Programming) 5%
PS 4 10%
PS 5 (Programming) 5%
PS 6 10%
PS 7 10%
Final Project 50% (Proposal= 5%, Presentation=5%, Writeup+Quality+Tournament Performance=40%)

Notice that the three programming problem sets will build on each other and form the basis for the final project. That is, everything you build for those problem sets you will probably use again on your final project. Also notice that class participation does not influence your grade, instead I will grade your presentations.

Problem Sets: You need to:

  1. Sign, fill out, and staple this coversheet as the first page of your problem set printout. You must submit a hardcopy of your problem set.
  2. Turn in the hardcopy before class. Late problem sets will receive no credit.
  3. For the programming problem sets, place all your your files in your home directory on, on a directory named PS1 for Problem set 1, PS2 for problem set 2, etc. In order to get an account on source you will need to go to and create an account with a username that is the same username as your engineering username. You will then be able to see your home directory folder by going to your "network neighborhood" and clicking on "Source". From a unix machine you can use the scp command.
  4. If your code is not in the appropiate folder by the deadline (11am) you will lose 30%. If its one day late you will lose 100%.

Overview: This class will provide a solid foundation in the field of multiagent systems design and engineering. We study all the major MAS design techinques, agent architectures, and communication languages. We take a hands-on approach by designing and building robocup soccer teams and playing them against each other.

The class, therefore, has two components: theoretical and implementation. The theoretical component includes the lectures, readings from the textbook and papers, and several problem sets. The implementation component includes the programming assignments and final project.

The students form teams of 1 to 3 members. All of the programming problem sets and the final project will be done by teams, while the rest must be done individually.

Prerequisites: This class involves a lot of Java programming. It is also and advanced graduate class. You need to be fluent in all the basic data structures and algorithms, object-oriented programming, and the Java language in particular. You also need to have taken an introductory AI class and possess some mathematical sophistication.

Deliverables: Students who pass this class are be able to design and implemented complex software solutions for distributed, real-time, noisy problems that require the coordination of independent units. The students have in-depth knowledge of the most common agent architectures, agent communication languages, coordination protocols and the Java language. They also have basic knowledge of game theory and economic theory as they apply to the design of incentive-compatible protocols. Finally, they are capable of working as part of a software team and develop significant projects under a tight deadline.

About the Homepage: The class homepage contains a lot of useful information. There is a forum (message board) available for you to ask questions, as well as a Mailing List. These are good places to have discussions about the robocup server and useful programming techniques. There is also a calendar, software, handouts, and copies of papers relevant to the class (see the menu bar on the left). Finally, there is a News section where I will post any relevant announcements. Please bookmark the classs homepage and check it often.

Jose M. Vidal
Last modified: Wed Aug 23 15:11:12 -0400 2000