Javier Vázquez Salceda
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 Knowledge Engineering and Machine Learning Group (KEMLg)Knowledge Engineering and Machine Learning Group (KEMLg)

 Computer Science Department (LSI)

 Technical University of Catalonia (UPC)

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 Research 



My current research is focused on theoretical and applied issues of  Multiagent Systems (MAS). I'm specially interested in the conflict between Autonomy and Control in agents and the use of norms to provide a solution.

Autonomy is one of the most desired properties of agents. We want agents to be autonomous in order to be able to (proactively) take their own decissions and to adapt to new, unexpected situations. On the other hand we want agents to behave  within some acceptable boundaries, in order to achieve one or several goals. Therefore some control should be applied to the agents' behaviour.

Autonomy vs. Control  problem:

How to ensure (control) an efficient and acceptable behaviour of a Multiagent System without diminishing the agents' autonomy?


This compromise between autonomy and control is present in three different levels:

  • The social level: The definition of agent societies, their shared goals, the roles and accepted behaviour. 
    • Social Structures, Conventions, Norms and e-Institutions. 
    • Norm Enforcement Mechanisms.
  • The agent cognitive level: The (flexible) enactment of an role by an agent.
    • Cognitive Agents, Normative Agents. 
  • The agent physical (situated) level: only present in situated agents (robots).
    • Learning and flexible behaviours during Navigation and Task execution.


My current research is therefore organized in two main lines


To test and improve the research, I'm specially interested in two application domains


My past research was focused on uses and applications of Software Agents and Multi-agent Architectures, and was composed by two research lines:


   Norms, e-Institutions and Normative Agents


This is my main research line, which focuses in the concepts of norms and institutions in order to provide normative frameworks to restrict  or guide the behaviour of  (software) agents.

The main idea is that the interactions among a group of (software) agents are ruled  by a set of explicit norms expressed in a computational language representation that agents can interpret. Such norms should not completely constrain (control) the autonomy of the agent, but guide the agent choices by defining which behaviours and situations are acceptable (legal ) or unacceptable (illegal ).

An additional advantage of norms is that they reduce the complexity of the environment  by making the behaviour of other agents more predictable.

A good summary of my research objectives, approach and current research lines can be found in the following position paper:

  • J. Vázquez-Salceda. "From Human Regulations to Regulated Software Agents' Behaviour". (presented in the First Round Table on Virtual Institutions and Legal Theory, Barcelona, may 2005). [PDF paper (english)] [PDF slides (english)]

Recently I became interested in the application of this line of research in non-agent-based technologies. Currently we are applying both institutional and organisational modelling in Service-Oriented Architectures (GRID and Web services) as part of the work carried out in the EU funded projects PROVENANCE, CONTRACT and ALIVE.

Projects:

  • PROVENANCE: This project has defined an open provenance architecture, an architecture for provenance systems, based on an open data model, allowing explicit documentation of past processes to be expressed, and a set of public interfaces allowing the creation, recording and querying of such process documentation.
  • CONTRACT: The aim of the project is develop frameworks, components and tools which make it possible to model, build, verify and monitor distributed electronic business systems on the basis of dynamically generated, cross-organisational contracts which underpin formal descriptions of the expected behaviours of individual services and the system as a whole.
  • ALIVE: The project will develop new approaches to the engineering of distributed software systems based on the adaptation of coordination and organisation mechanisms, often seen in human and other societies, to Service Oriented Architectures. Such methods provide robust descriptions of distributed systems and make the development of complex software systems more accessible to non-specialists.


Some publications:
 

  • J. Vázquez-Salceda. "The role of Norms and Electronic Institutions in Multi-Agent Systems". Whitestein Series in Software Agent Technology, Birkhäuser Verlag AG, Switzerland. ISBN 3-7643-7057-2 [More info]
  • J. Vázquez-Salceda. "Normative Agents in Health Care: Uses and Challenges". AI Communications vol. 18 num. 3, pp. 175-189. IOS Press, 2005. [check the Technical Report]
  • J. Vázquez-Salceda, V. Dignum, F.Dignum. "Organizing Multiagent Systems". Journal of Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems, vol. 11 issue 3, pp. 307-360. Springer Science, November 2005. [check the Technical Report]
  • J. Vázquez-Salceda, F. Dignum. "Modelling Electronic Organizations" In V. Marik, J. Muller and M. Pechoucek (Eds.) Multi-Agent Systems and Applications III: 3rd. International/Central and Eastern European Conference on Multi-Agent Systems -CEEMAS'03-. Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence 2691, pp. 584-593. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 2003. [PDF paper (english)]
  • J. Vázquez-Salceda, H. Aldewereld, D. Grossi, F. Dignum. "From Human Regulations to Regulated Software Agents' Behaviour: connecting the abstract declarative norms with the concrete operational implementation". Artificial Intelligence and Law vol. 16, num. 1, (March 2008). Springer. ISSN: 0924-8463. [available online]
  • H. Aldewereld, D. Grossi, J. Vázquez-Salceda, F. Dignum. "Designing Normative Behaviour by the Use of Landmarks". AAMAS-05 International Workshop on Agents, Norms and Institutions for Regulated Multi Agent Systems -ANI@REM-, Utrecht, The Netherlands, July 2005. [PDF paper (english)]
  • H. Aldewereld, J. Vázquez-Salceda, F. Dignum, J.J. Ch. Meyer. "Verifying Norm Compliance of Protocols". AAMAS-05 International Workshop on Agents, Norms and Institutions for Regulated Multi Agent Systems -ANI@REM-, Utrecht, The Netherlands, July 2005. [PDF paper (english)]
  • D. Grossi, H. Aldewereld, J. Vázquez-Salceda, F. Dignum. "Ontological Aspects of the Implementation of Norms in Agent-Based Electronic Institutions" Computational & Mathematical Organization Theory vol. 12 issue 2-3, pp. 251-275. Springer, October 2006. [check the original Normas05 paper]
  • N. Oren, S. Panagiotidi, J. Vázquez-Salceda, S. Modgil, M. Luck and S. Miles. "Towards a formalisation of Electronic Contracting Environments". In Hubner, J.F.; Matson, E.; Boissier, O.; Dignum, V. (Eds.). Coordination, Organizations, Institutions and Norms in Agent Systems IV. Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence , Vol. 5428, pp. 156-171. Springer, 2009. ISBN: 978-3-642-00442-1 [paper in Springer Online]
  • J. Vázquez-Salceda, S. Álvarez-Napagao "Using SOA Provenance to Implement Norm Enforcement in e-Institutions". In Hubner, J.F.; Matson, E.; Boissier, O.; Dignum, V. (Eds.). Coordination, Organizations, Institutions and Norms in Agent Systems IV. Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence , Vol. 5428, pp. 188-203. Springer, 2009. ISBN: 978-3-642-00442-1 [paper in Springer Online]
  • J. Vázquez-Salceda, U. Cortés, J. Padget, A. López-Navidad, F. Caballero. "The organ allocation process: a natural extension of the Carrel Agent Mediated Electronic Institution". AI Communications vol. 16 num. 3, pp. 153-165. IOS Press, 2003. [PDF paper (english)]
  • J. Vázquez-Salceda, J.A. Padget, U. Cortés, A. López-Navidad, F. Caballero. "Formalizing an Electronic Institution for the distribution of Human Tissues". Artificial Intelligence in Medicine vol. 27 issue 3 , pp. 233-258. Elsevier, March 2003[PDF paper (english)]


   Learning in Multi-robot Systems

Some people define Robotics as the research area where Artificial Intelligence meets the real world. In other words, robots have to cope with perception (e.g., noise) and actuation (e.g., slippage) problems and therefore modify or even override some planned actions (created in a higher, deliberative layer) to cope with an unexpected problem or a safety situation.

Therefore we have an interesting instance of the autonomy vs. control problem between the deliberative and reactive layers of a robot architecture. In principle the deliberative layer should decide (control) the actions taken by the robot, but the reactive layers should have autonomy enough to change the planned actions to overcome with detected deviations or with safety problems.

This research line, coordinated by Cristina Urdiales, aims to develop a hybrid (deliberative/reactive) architecture for autonomous behaviour in Multi-Robot Systems composed by three levels:
  • The social level, to coordinate actions between robots and robots, and between robots and humans. This layer provides a list of abstract goals to each robot.
  • The deliberative level, where each robot creates a plan of action, taking into account the abstract objectives from the social level and the perceptions from the robot sensors. This layer provides then a decomposition of partial goals (subgoals) to be achieved. 
  • The reactive level, which autonomously tries to achieve each of the subgoals, solving any small problem, obstacle  or deviation that it might find and learning from its experiences to solve new siilar problems.. 
A first hybrid architecture for autonomous navigation, covering the deliberative and reactive levels, has been already implemented and tested on a Pioneer robot with 8 Polaroid sonar sensors, where Case-Based Reasoning is used for navigation in the reactive layer.

As an application domain, we aim to create robotic platforms to safely movematerial and  elderly and handicapped patients inside a hospital, as aprt of the e-Tools project (see the Multiagent Systems for Medical Applications research area below).

Some publications:
 
  • D. Isern, R. Annicchiarico, J. Vázquez-Salceda, C. Urdiales, C. Caltagirone. "Applying Multi-Agent Systems and Bio-Mimetic Navigation Architectures for Coordination and Scheduling of Humans and Robots". 10th International Symposium on Robotics and Applications –ISORA 2004-, Sevilla, Spain, June 2004. [PDF paper (english)]
  • C. Urdiales, E.J. Perez, J. Vázquez-Salceda, F. Sandoval. "A hybrid architecture for autonomous navigation using a CBR reactive layer". Proceedings of the 2003 IEEE/WIC International Conference on Intelligent Agent Technology (IAT 2003), Halifax, Canada, 13-16 October 2003, pp 225-232. IEEE Computer Society 2003. ISBN 0-7695-1931-8. [PDF paper (english)]
  • C. Urdiales, J. Vázquez-Salceda, E.J. Perez, M. Sànchez-Marrè and F. Sandoval. "A CBR based pure reactive layer for autonomous robot navigation". Proceedings of the 7th IASTED International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Soft Computing, July 14-16, 2003, Banff, Canada, pp. 99-104. Acta Press 2003. ISBN 0-88986-367-9. [PDF paper (english)]


   Multiagent Systems for Medical Applications

This research line, leaded by Ulises Cortés, applies Knowledge Engineering, Machine Learning and Agent coordination mechanisms to create agent-mediated applications in the Health Care domain.

The interest on Health Care as an application domain is because its inherent complexity, which presents a wide variety of issues to be solved.

This line has currently two application domains:
  • Assisting practitioners in the organ and tissue allocation problem (the Carrel/UCTx project)
  • The use of Agent technologies to create tools for elderly and handicapped patients (the e-Tools project)


Projects:

  • Carrel/UCTx: project in collaboration with the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, in Barcelona. The project has two working lines 1) design of an Electronic Institution (Carrel) for the exchange of human tissues among hospitals, an Agent-mediated institution; 2) design on an Agency (UCTx) to assist a Transplant Coordination Unit, an multi-agent system that negotiates and communicates with Carrel.
  • e-Tools: project in collaboration with IRCSS Fondazione Santa Lucia (Rome) and the University of Malaga. The project aims to design and build electronic tools that improve the quality of life of impaired patients by increasing their autonomy in carrying out their daily activities. This research project created the foundations for the EU-funded SHARE-it project.

Some publications:
 
  • I. Rudomín, J. Vázquez-Salceda, J.L. Diaz de León Santiago (eds.). "e-Health: Application of Computing Science in Medicine and Health Care" Research on Computing Science vol. 5. Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Centro de Investigación en Computación, México 2003. ISBN 970-36-0118-9. [Cover (jpg)][Table of Contents (pdf)]
  • J. Vázquez-Salceda. "Normative Agents in Health Care: Uses and Challenges". AI Communications vol. 18 num. 3, pp. 175-189. IOS Press, 2005. [check the Technical Report]
  • U. Cortés, R. Annicchiarico, J. Vázquez-Salceda, C. Urdiales, L. Cañamero, M. López, M. Sànchez-Marrè, C. Caltagirone. "Assistive technologies for the disabled and for the new generation of senior citizens: the e-Tools Architecture". AI Communications vol. 16 num. 3 pp. 193-207. IOS Press, 2003. [PDF paper (english)]
  • J. Sousa Lopes, J. Vázquez-Salceda, M. Fernández Carmona and C. Urdiales. "Non-intrusive sensoring and behavior analysis in residences for the elderly". Proceedings of the Fifth Workshop on Agents Applied in Health Care at AAMAS'08, Estoril, Portugal, May 2008.
  • J. Vázquez-Salceda, U. Cortés, J. Padget, A. López-Navidad, F. Caballero. "The organ allocation process: a natural extension of the Carrel Agent Mediated Electronic Institution". AI_Communications vol. 16 num. 3, pp. 153-165. IOS Press, 2003. [PDF paper (english)]
  • J. Vázquez-Salceda, J.A. Padget, U. Cortés, A. López-Navidad, F. Caballero. "Formalizing an Electronic Institution for the distribution of Human Tissues". Artificial Intelligence in Medicine vol. 27 issue 3 , pp. 233-258. Elsevier, March 2003[PDF paper (english)]
  • U. Cortés, A. López-Navidad, J. Vázquez-Salceda, D. Busquets, M. Nicolás, S. López, A. Vázquez, F. Vázquez i F. Caballero. “UCTx: A Multi-Agent approach to model a Transplant Coordination Unit”. Presented at the 3er. Congrés Català d’Intel·ligència Artificial  (CCIA 2000), Butlletí de l'ACIA 22:23-28. Vilanova i la Geltrú, October 2000.[PDF paper compressed with ZIP (english)]


   Case-Based Reasoning and Agents

This research line is coordinated mainly by Miquel Sànchez and focuses on the development of more powerful Case-Based Reasoning (CBR) systems that can work in environments and topics difficult to model with other approaches, and environments with missing information. Another working line (the DAI-DEPUR++ project) studies the integration of different knowledge and reasoning models (Ontologies, Rules ans Cases) in the same system. Another uses of the CBR are also analysed, such as using CBR to improve the reasoning and learning capabilities of Software Agents.

Part of these work was done in the framekork of the european funded project A-TEAM, under the supervision of  Ulises Cortés and Miquel Sànchez, where we developed a Case-Based Reasoning module for environmental emergencies management.

Currently the Case-Based Reasoning module is being succesfully applied to robot navigation (see the Learning in Multi-Robot Systems line above).


Projects:

  • "Sistema Inteligente de ayuda a la toma de decisiones para la predicción y minimización del impacto de la actividad volcánica" ("Intelligent decission support system for prediction and minimization of the volcano activity impact"). Project made in collaboration with the Universidad de las Américas de Puebla (UDLAP) and funded by CONACYT. This project joins Geographical Information Systems' Technologies (GIS) with Knowledge Management ones (such as CBR) to build a decission support system to coordinate the evacuation tasks of the population arround the Popocatepetl volcano, in México. 
 
Popocatepetl volcano, México

 
  • A-TEAM (Advanced Training System for Emergency Management). European funded project. In this project several technologies were joined to create a Distance Learning distributed tool for environmental emergency management teams (such as fireworkers or emergency management teams in chemical plants).


Some publications:
 

  • J. Vázquez-Salceda, M. Sànchez-Marrè and U. Cortés. "Using Case-Based Reasoning to overcome high computing cost interactive simulations". In K.D. Ashley and D.G. Bridge (Eds.) Case-Based Reasoning Research and Development: Fifth International Conference on Case-Based Reasoning, ICCBR'03, Trondheim, Norway, June 2003, Proceedings. Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence 2689, pp. 581-594. Springer-Verlag, 2003. [PDF paper (english)]


   Agent-Mediated Recommender Systems

Recommender Systems are a special kind of multi-agent architecture based on recommending and adapting contents or items to a given user. We have focused our work in uses of the Recommender Ssytems to the search and adaptation of Internet contents, and the use of Recommender Systems to improve and increase the capabilities of the tools for Computer Support for Collaborative Work (CSCW).

This research line started with the design and development of ACE, a Multi Agent Recommender System for content extracted from the Web, implemented in Java. This research was made with Alberto Vázquez Huerga  and leaded by  Ramon Sangüesa and started as a final project for the Bachelor degree, from september 1998 to july 1999. 

Since then the research goes on in two parallel working lines: 1) adaptation of the ACE system for recommendation in Collaborative Work environments (Colaboratorio project), where I have been involved part-time in the specification process, and 2) design of a generic agent-based architecture for Recommender Systems. The last one is currenlty active and there are forthcoming publications.

 

Some publications:

  • A. Vázquez-Huerga, I. Barrio, J. Vázquez-Salceda, J.M. Pujol and R. Sangüesa. "An Agent-Based Collaboratory". Presented at the 4rt. Congrés Català d’Intel·ligència Artificial  (CCIA 2001). Butlletí de l'ACIA 25:223-230. Barcelona, October 2001. [PDF paper (english)]
  • R. Sangüesa, A. Vázquez, J. Vázquez-Salceda. “Mixing Collaborative and Cognitive Filtering in Multiagent Systems”. Presented at the 3rd Workshop on Agent-Based Recommender Systems (WARS 2000), Barcelona, june 2000.  [in PDF format (english)]





  
 jvazquez@lsi.upc.edu, Wed Apr 15 12:20 CET 2009