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August 2006

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MASON Multiagent Simulation Toolkit <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Thu, 31 Aug 2006 16:03:14 +0100
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MASON Multiagent Simulation Toolkit <[log in to unmask]>
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From:
Michael Lees <[log in to unmask]>
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To: MASON Multiagent Simulation Toolkit <[log in to unmask]>
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Hi all,

I seem to writing a lot of emails with suggestions and questions. 
Hopefully I'll be able to contribute answers soon.

Anyway,

For the purposes of my simulation I've designed a new type of steppable 
which has a phase. The design is not particularly elegant so I was 
wondering if there is a correct way of doing what I'm attempting.

Basically the way I've understood and learnt mason is that agents are 
steppables. You implement an agent by extending some form of steppable. 
You then schedule the agent and perhaps repeat the step every time-step. 
So say you have n agents the schedule at each time-step looks like:

[a_1,a_2,...,a_n]

Where a_i is the step method of agent i.

What I want to be able to do is basically split the step method of each 
agent in a single time-step, so we have the agent i has two step methods 
a_i and a'_i.
This would allow to have a repeatable schedule as...

[a_1,a_2,...,a_n, b, a'_1,a'_2,...,a'_n]

Where b is some other form of steppable.

The steppable would then have a flag which indcates the current 'phase' 
of the agent and which flipped on each call to step. The invocation of 
step would call a different step method (a_i or a'_i) according to the 
current value of the flag or 'phase'. (This could be generalised to n 
phases)

You would then schedule the agent in the same schedule multiple times at 
different orderings to achieve the desired affect.
ie.,
schedule.scheduleRepeating(a_i,1,1.0d);
schedule.scheduleRepeating(b,2,1.0d);
schedule.scheduleRepeating(a_i,3,1.0d);
	

So I thought about it some more and I wasn't sure if I was thinking 
about steppables in the correct way. You can think of steppables as 
events rather than agents? So rather than implementing your agent by 
extending steppable, the agent contains steppables which represent the 
events the agent can schedule. This way seems cleaner and slightly more 
natural to me, but I wasn't sure which way I should think about 
steppables. I have currently implemented the former but was thinking 
about changing.



Thanks

-- 
Mike

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