Tools for Developing Cognitive Agents

Vincent Koeman

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

112 Downloads (Pure)


Agent-oriented programming (AOP) is a programming paradigm introduced roughly thirty years ago as an approach to problems in Artificial Intelligence (AI). An agent is a piece of software that can perceive its environment (e.g., through sensors) and act upon that environment (e.g., through actuators). A cognitive agent is a specific type of agent that executes a decision cycle in which it processes events and selects actions based on cognitive notions such as beliefs and goals. Often, multiple agents are used, which is referred to as a multi-agent system (MAS). MAS is generally advertised an approach to handling problems that require multiple problem solving methods, multiple perspectives, and multiple problem solving entities. Tools and techniques for the programming of cognitive agents need to be based on the underlying agent-oriented paradigm, which is a significant challenge, as unlike more traditional paradigms, they should for example take into account that agents execute a specific decision cycle and operate in non-deterministic environments. Therefore, in this thesis, we take existing AOP theories a step further by designing tools for the development of cognitive agent programs with an explicit focus on usability. Each development tool we propose is extensively evaluated on hundreds of (novice) agent programmers. In the context of AOP, the process of detecting, locating and correcting mistakes in a computer program, known as debugging, is particularly challenging. As large part of the effort of a programmer consists of debugging a program, efficient debugging is an essential factor for both productivity and program quality. In this thesis, we contribute both to the process of locating mistakes in agent programs as well as the process of identifying misbehaviour of an agent in the first place...
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Hindriks, K.V., Supervisor
  • Jonker, C.M., Supervisor
Thesis sponsors
Award date18 Jun 2019
Print ISBNs9789463661676
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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