Dynamic Situational Awareness and Multi Agent Systems

I just watched the exultation of the people of Egypt after the announcement that Hosni Mubarak relinquished the Presidency of Egypt to the Military. Egypt's revolution represents many things to many people, and analysts, historians, economists and others will be analyzing the cause, and the events that took place throughout the revolution for some time. The story is just beginning.

One thing that this reminded me of is a model I studied some time ago.

Multi agentImage via WikipediaThe concept of Multi Agent Systems, is a system composed of multiple interacting intelligent agents. Multi-agent systems can be used to solve problems which are difficult or impossible for an individual agent or monolithic system to solve. Borrowing from the definition is an overview:


The agents in a multi-agent system have several important characteristics:[4]
  • Autonomy: the agents are at least partially autonomous
  • Local views: no agent has a full global view of the system, or the system is too complex for an agent to make practical use of such knowledge
  • Decentralization: there is no designated controlling agent (or the system is effectively reduced to a monolithic system)[5]
Typically multi-agent systems research refers to software agents. However, the agents in a multi-agent system could equally well be robots,[6] humans or human teams. A multi-agent system may contain combined human-agent teams.

What we as a community have seen is an example of a multi agent system that breaks one of these rules.

The rule of "Local views" did not apply to the crowd of people in Egypt. Thanks to Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and cell phones each person had access to the global view. Some examples of this is called: Situational Awareness

The new social media tools available to the communities of people in Egypt allowed them to have full situational awareness of their local environment as well as the environment in the country as a whole. Modeling this behavior will be something that I am sure many researchers will be working on for some time to come.

How will we see some of this translated into the business world? Dashboards, Mobile Business Intelligence based on clean, concise data systems that are fed from data warehouses or data marts can profoundly impact the capabilities of the people that use these systems. Quickly getting appropriate data to the appropriate person can completely change the ability of business analysts, financial planners, buyers, sellers, accountants and managers to do their daily jobs.

When faced with the questions of how can delivery of data quickly to intelligence systems impact the bottom line. The behavior of the people of Egypt shows how quick access to information can have an impact on an environment.

I hope that the people of Egypt build a stronger country and live in peace with their neighbors and the rest of the world. Peace loving people around the world congratulate you.

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