CIS 563: Multi-Agent Systems, Spring 2005

Homework Assignment #1

Due: Monday, March 21, 2005 (in class)

In this assignment you will be asked to speculate on the design, construction and motivation for an intelligent home. An intelligent home is one endowed with knowledge of its inhabitants and so-called "smart" appliances. At one level, this can be accomplished using existing home automation technologies (X10, etc.) and simple rules (e.g. turn the lights on when it gets dark). At another, the use of agent technology, specifically some form of autonomous intelligence, can allow for much more sophisticated behaviors. Use this latter scenario to think about the questions below, which are common to many different domains. The following papers may provide some inspiration:

  1. What motivates the need for such intelligent control? Give two example scenarios where some of these motivations can be addressed.

  2. How would you structure the system? Do you think the control in the environment should be centralized or decentralized (or both)? How much autonomy should the components have? What effects do these decisions have on the system's characteristics?

  3. What are the limiting conditions in the environment which would influence the system's design? What type of tradeoffs would these limitations cause the designer to make?

  4. What elements of the environment or problem might need to be coordinated over? What type of coordination should be used? Give an example.

  5. Why might it be advantageous to extend the scope of the system past a single home, to other homes, businesses, or locations? What implications, both positive and negative, does this have on the system?

  6. How would you feel about living in a home where your appliances were watching you?