Affiliations: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Department of Artificial Intelligence, De Boelelaan 1081a, 1081HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands | The University of Texas at Austin, Laboratory for Intelligent Processes and Systems, 1 University Station C5000, Austin, TX 78712-0240, USA
Abstract: When developing sophisticated multi-agent systems whose behaviors include collaboration, negotiation, and conflict resolution, analyzing and (empirically) verifying agent system behavior is a challenging task. To aid the developer in such tasks, this paper presents an approach that combines two software engineering tools – the Tracer Tool and the TTL Checker, which together record agent activities as execution traces and verify that the traces satisfy specified properties. The objective of the combined tool is to aid the user in redesigning, debugging, and maintaining the agent system. The Tracer Tool ensures that the user's comprehension of the system behavior is accurate with respect to the execution traces and provides explanations of anomalous behavior, which can be detected as a failed behavioral property by the TTL Checker. The integrated approach has been applied to an agent-based system designed to coordinate unmanned aerial vehicles.
Keywords: Software comprehension, agent-oriented software engineering, reverse engineering, debugging, maintenance, tracer, formal analysis of agent systems