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CM30076 / CM30082
Individual Project

Project Ideas

Dr Julian Padget

jap at cs.bath.ac.uk

Distributed Answer Set Solving
The objective of distributed answer set solving - for the purpose of this project - is not so much parallelism - although that is a corollary - but geographical location of the computation. Joint project with Marina De Vos.
Matchmaking with Agents
to be completed
Browser interface to Agentscape
Debugging agent applications is quite painful at the language level: the programmer really wants to see what interactions are taking place and even information about the internal state of an agent. The sniffer tool in Jade has proven an effective model for observing agent communications. The objective of this project is to build a browser interface that connects to multiple instances of the agentscape agent platform to display similar information to Jade's sniffer. It would also be useful if it could support the injection of messages into a platform to enable observation of the functional behaviour of agents. A further development could be the means to inspect parts of the internal state of an agent.
Agentscape on a PDA
Quite simply, the implementation of the Agentscape agent platform for a handheld, probably an HP iPAQ. Interesting issues (not all of which necessarily need be addressed) will include the migration of agents to and from the PDA, the dynamic reconfiguration of the security domain as the PDA roams from one access point to another and interaction with web services via the built in web service gateway.
This is a joint project with Benno Overeinder (Free University, Amsterdam).
The Dynamics of Social Exclusion
In an earlier study, Graham Room (Social and Policy Sciences Dept, Bath) with Nick Britton (Mathematical Sciences) used differential equations to model the effect of education policy. The aim of this project is to repeat the exercise using agent-based modelling. There would be two sets of actors: head teachers, who would choose to select pupils either (a) on a social class-blind basis, or (b) giving absolute priority to any middle class pupils who applied; middle class and working class parents, each preferring to place their child in a school with a high proportion on middle class pupils, but with the working class parents having a less marked preference than the middle class parents. These coefficients of preference could be modified in the model and the consequences inspected.
This is a joint project with Graham Room (Social and Policy Department)
Modelling Software Development Processes
Aim is to demonstrate, through a comparative study, using simulation, different qualities of two opposing views of software development. First, requirements are negotiated once in the early stage of a software development project and then fixed until delivery of the software ("waterfall software development"). Second, requirements are emergent and renegotiated on a time-fixed basis, e.g., every week "agile software development"). The outcome, or performance measure, could be user satisfaction with the software and possibly software adoption (i.e., is the software used?). The relationships between the developers and the users would need to be expressed and this might be done in social capital terms, e.g., friendships, trust, knowledge sharing. We would want to ask questions of the simulation such as: what patterns emerge in situations where agile software development in used and there is little or no social capital?
This is a joint project with Richard Vidgen (School of Management).
Music Web Services
There are several possible projects under this topic heading, including:
  • The development of an analogue of the MONET/GENSS mathematical web services architecture targetted at music, including an ontology for music services, a music service description language, a music service problem language and the deployment of a range of simple music web services. See http://monet.nag.co.uk and http://www.genss.cs.bath.ac.uk for more background information.
  • Construction of a signal processing workbench using the Triana web services toolkit, including the development and deployment of new services for access through Triana.
  • Performance via PDA, where each PDA represents a synthetic instrument and the location of the PDA determines its position in the audio mix. Thus, as the instrument is played by the person using the PDA and as the PDA moves in the auditorium, so the mix changes to give the right sound at the right location. Tracking of the performance to permit subsequent playback and the creation of sonic installations for audience exploration.
  • A web client supporting the automatic classification and construction of genre playlists from available audio files, so that the user may select a few example pieces and then request "more of the same" or "not like this" or "distant genres" or "change the mood from A to B".
  • A performance environment in which the synthetic instruments are located in space and the player(s) interact with them by moving through regions identified with the instrument, leading to signals being fed into the audio mix in response to the players' movements.
These projects are typically joint with John Fitch.
Location-Aware Applications
The delivery platform for several projects under this heading is either a PDA or a lap-top with bluetooth (for GPS receiver) and wireless ether connections. Possible projects include:
  1. Turning images into navigable maps. The task here is to take a scanned image, representing a map of the area of interest and make it usable by a route planner by creating metadata such as where there are barriers or links (for example) between regions. It will also be necessary to provide a mechanism to calibrate the image against actual position. Zooming and panning of the map image are also necessary functions. Zooming may require the storage of image data at different resolutions. Demonstration of simple route planning.
  2. A map event editor. The task here is allow the user to script events associated with regions. The events could take a variety of forms, but some examples are text pop-ups or sound sequences. Issues include: what to do when the tracking device repeatedly moves in and out of a region and what region shapes are practical.
  3. Synthesis of location sensor information. The task here is to investigate the effectiveness of using wireless access points (indoors) for position computation (by triangulation) and to synthesize that information with GPS data at transition points to outdoors.
Web Services TAC
The trading agent competition is currently implemented as a client written in Java and a server written in SICSTUS Prolog with a RMI derived communication model. The task of this project is to develop a new, but functionally equivalent client and server in which the server is a web service and the client interacts with it via SOAP asynchronous messaging. Ideally, the client should operate on top of the JADE agent platform.
Virtual Directories
Conventional directory structures represent a very weak form of file metadata, but force the user to classify a file under a single category. Likewise filename extensions. Typically, this is inadequate, and users forget where files are, or think they are under one directory when they are elsewhere and subsequently resort to directory tree searches to find the file by name or by (string) content. Some filing systems permit symbolic links so that a single file may appear to be present in more than one directory at a time, but maintenance of such links is extremely tiresome. By using classification techniques and semantic web technology virtual directories identified by concepts can be created and populated with the relevant files for the user to browse on a by-need basis. As new files are created they may be classified and subsequently "found" in the right place. Ideally, this would be implemented as a new kind of user-defined file system type in Linux, but this is not essential.