AetherSystems Distinguished Lecture Series in Mobile and Wireless Systems ebiquity group
UMBC CSEE UMBC AetherSystems

Electric Elves: Towards an Agent-Facilitated Human Organization

Milind Tambe
Information Sciences Institute / University of Southern California
Marina del Rey CA

1:00pm, September 27, 2000, LH5

Lecture Abstract

Past few years have seen a revolution in the field of software agents, with agents now proliferating in human organizations, helping individuals in tasks such as information gathering, activity scheduling, managing email, etc. The "Electric-Elves" effort at USC/ISI is now taking the next step: dynamic teaming of all such different heterogeneous agents, as well as proxy agents for humans, to serve not just individuals, but to facilitate the functioning of entire organizations. The ultimate goal of our work is to build agent teams that assist in all organization activities, enabling organizations to act coherently, to robustly attain their mission goals and to react swiftly to crises. The results of this work could potentially be relevant to all organizations, including the military, corporations, and universities and research institutions.

As a step towards this goal, we have had an agent team of about 15-20 agents, including 10 proxies (for 10 people) running 24/7 for the past four months at USC/ISI. The proxies communicate with us using different types of mobile wireless devices, and attempt to track our locations using wireless GPS transmissions. These agents assist us in several tasks: they track people's locations, reschedule meetings, decide presenters for research meetings (by auctioning research talk slots), and even order our lunch and dinner. In this talk, I will outline some of the lessons we have learned over the past several months in running this agent system. I will also outline our approach on some of the key research challenges, including agents' adjustable autonomy.

For publications related to this talk:

Recorded Lecture Links
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Author's Biography

Dr. Milind tambe is a project leader at the University of Southern California Information Sciences Institute and a Research Associate Professor in the Computer Science Department of the University of Southern California. He received his PhD from the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University in1991. His research interests are in the areas of multi-agent systems, particularly, in topics such as teamwork, coordination, negotiations and agent modeling. A member of the board of directors of the International Foundation for Multi-agent Systems, a trustee of the RoboCup Federation, he is also on the editorial board of the Journal of Autonomous Agents and Multi-agent Systems, Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research, and IEEE Intelligent Systems. He has served as the program co-chair for the International conference on multi-agent systems (ICMAS'2000), as the finance chair for International conference on Autonomous Agents (Agents'98) and as senior program committee member for the AAAI and Agents conferences.

For more information contact Dr. Anupam Joshi via e-mail at or by phone at (410) 455 2590.