How to effectively coordinate multi-agent interaction in a dynamical evolving environment with limited communication bandwidth is a challenging problem. This is especially difficult in large scale environments where there can be 100s to 1000s of agents. I have been working on this problem for over 40 years. I will first discuss why coordination is an important part of a multi-agent system, and why it is difficult to create optimal coordination strategies that use limited resources. I will next present ideas of how to develop non-optimal coordination strategies that are still effective while requiring only limited communication and coordination resources. and that can scale to large agent systems. I end the lecture with some thoughts on open issues.
Victor Lesser received the Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 1973. He is an Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Founding Director of the Multi-Agent Systems Laboratory in the College of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His major research focus is ons the control and organization of complex AI systems. He has pioneered work in the development of the blackboard architecture and its control structure, approximate processing for use in control and real-time AI, self-aware control, and a wide variety of techniques for the coordination of and negotiation among multiple agents. He was the system architect for first fully developed blackboard architecture (HEARSAY-II), when he was a research computer scientist at CMU from 1972 thru 1976, and is considered one of the founders of the Multi-Agent field starting with his early work in 1978. He has also made contributions in the areas of machine learning, signal understanding, diagnostics, plan recognition, and computer-supported cooperative work. He has worked in application areas such as sensor networks for vehicle tracking and weather monitoring, speech and sound understanding, information gathering on the internet, peer-to-peer information retrieval, intelligent user interfaces, distributed task allocation and scheduling, and virtual agent enterprises. In terms of statistics, he has published over 500 papers, graduated 36 PhD students, and based on Google Scholar his citation count is almost 28000, h-index is 82 and i10-index is 310. A number of his former students are internationally recognized AI scholars in the highest tier of their age cohorts.
Professor Lesser's research accomplishments have been recognized by many major awards over the years. He received the IJCAI-09 Award for Research Excellence, the most prestigious award in AI. He is also a Founding Fellow of AAAI and an IEEE Fellow. He was General Chair of the first international conference on Multi-Agent Systems (ICMAS) in 1995, and Founding President of the International Foundation of Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems (IFAAMAS). In 2007, to honor his contributions to the field of multi-agent systems, IFAAMAS established the “Victor Lesser Distinguished Dissertation Award.” He also received a Special Recognition Award for his foundational research in generalized coordination technologies from the Information Processing Technology Office at DARPA.