Intelligent agents and distributed models for cooperative task support
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1108/03684920510614768
Purpose – To describe some research done, as part of an EPSRC funded project, to assist engineers working together on collaborative tasks. Design/methodology/approach – Distributed finite state modelling and agent techniques are used successfully in a new hybrid self-organising decision making system applied to collaborative work support. For the particular application, analysis of the tasks involved has been performed and these tasks are modelled. The system then employs a novel generic agent model, where task and domain knowledge are isolated from the support system, which provides relevant information to the engineers. Findings – The method is applied in the despatch of transmission commands within the control room of The National Grid Company Plc (NGC) – tasks are completed significantly faster when the system is utilised. Research limitations/implications – The paper describes a generic approach and it would be interesting to investigate how well it works in other applications. Practical implications – Although only one application has been studied, the methodology could equally be applied to a general class of cooperative work environments. Originality/value – One key part of the work is the novel generic agent model that enables the task and domain knowledge, which are application specific, to be isolated from the support system, and hence allows the method to be applied in other domains.