Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis open access


Computer Science


In recent years, Multi-Agent Systems (MAS) have for the first time begun to be accepted in mainstream computing. Software companies haave been founded focusing purely on MAS software, telecommunications companies now use agent-based technologies in cell phones, and there have even been two successful DARPA funded, military-grade defense projects in the past ten years. The growth in demand development tools available. The various development platforms focus on mobile devices, large-scale distributed systems, and specific research applications; however, these tools leave an important facet of MAS development unsatisfied--undergraduate research and teaching. Each of the solutions available is either too complex, too specific, or in some way infeasible to be used by students in what is possibly their first introduction to MAS. This research concentrates on creating a distributed, graphical MAS simulator in Java and an associated Application Program Interface (API) for developing agent-based systems at the undergraduate level. Whether in research or in the classroom, the well designed, easily extensible API allows students to create and immediately display their agents' interactions in the simulation environment with minimal programming. The API provides agents with the capacity for perception, communication, memory, and action. Future undergraduate research and learning in the field of MAS will be greatly facilitated by this intuitive simulation platform. Students can learn MAS by observing agents visually, and student researchers can focus purely on programming and analyzing agent behavior.