DiCoMas (Distributed Collaboration using Multi-Agent System Architectures) is a SBO (Strategic Basic Research) project funded by IWT (Instituut voor de Aanmoediging van Innovatie door Wetenschap & Technologie in Vlaanderen). The long-term goal of this project is to establish a knowledge based platform on distributed collaboration in Flanders (Belgium); the concrete objective of the project is to provide a reusable software architecture that supports the development of applications for automated collaboration between business processes.
Multi-agent systems (MAS) is a lively research area that studies modeling and engineering of distributed collaborative systems. The MAS paradigm offers high-level abstractions (such as roles, communication languages, and ontologies) that fit well with the reality of independent autonomous parties in business. Particular qualities associated with MAS are adaptability and openness making them particular suitable for developing dynamic collaborative systems. Flanders has a lot of expertise in the domain of MAS, which has not been brought together. DiCoMas project brings together this expertise along with an international environment and aims to advance its complementary know-how on distributed collaboration, and to provide a valuable platform for knowledge transfer and valorisation.
DiCoMas is focused towards collaborative business processes, such as supply chain management and collaborative health care institutions. Supply chain management focuses heavily on collaboration with customers and suppliers to establish and manage an effective supply network. Flemish companies require integration of their supply chain with key partners, enabling collaboration for improved responsiveness and reduced cost. People allocation in medical care paths (medical workflows) is another example, now in the e-health domain. The medical treatments of patients who have to undergo series of medical examinations, possibly under time pressure, require the coordination and allocation of various people and equipment at different locations. Efficient management and allocation of the distributed resources require the collaboration among the various medical units.
DiCoMAS has the following objectives:
- Develop a reusable software architecture for distributed collaborative applications. The software architecture integrates the essential architectural building blocks of distributed collaborative systems, and provides three core qualities of collaborative systems that fit with today's business requirements: adaptability, openness, and security. Three research areas are addressed in order to meet this objective: (1) collaboration modelling, (2) middleware, and (3) trust, privacy and security.
- Establishing a knowledge platform on distributed collaboration in Flanders, that brings together the complementary expertise available in Flemish research teams on collaborative multi-agent systems.
Who are involved?
The DiCoMas project team has expertise from various research domains namely middleware and software architecture, information security, application optimization, decision support system and computational modeling. Further, the DiCoMas project team comprises of international researchers across the globe. The research partners of the project are:
- AgentWise taskforce from DistriNet research group (Department of Computer Science, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)
- SecAnon taskforce from DistriNet research group (Department of Computer Science, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)
- Information Technology Group (Engineering Department, KaHo Sint-Lieven)
- Computational Modelling Lab - COMO (Department of Computer Science, Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
- Distributed Decision Support group - DDS (Science Faculty, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Campus Kortrijk).