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Dr Marina De Vos
Department of Computer Science
Friday, 28-Feb-2020 11:59:34 GMT

E-Commerce and Agents (CM30174)

This is the homepage of the E-Commerce and Agents unit which is elective single unit for final year students.

Here you can find: the people involved, the content, the Aims and Objectives, the venue , course material, the e-learning environment Moodle , the assesment criteria, the unit outline, the coursework specification and exam guidance.


Course Content

Agent architectures, agent platforms (Jade, FIPA-OS, LEAP), standards (FIPA), communication and content languages (FIPA-ACL, KQML), agent-oriented software engineering, virtual enterprise formation, institutions and norms, auctions, B2C, B2B, case studies of practical applications.

Aims and Objectives

  • Aims:
    • To introduce students to the principles of agents, agency, institutions and agent software development.

  • Objectives: On completion of this unit students will be able to:
    1. know the factors that differentiate agents from other software systems and be able to classify agents according to their competencies.
    2. describe and contrast different agent architectures, platforms and approaches to agent development.
    3. develop simple agent-based software systems.


  • Lectures: Thursday 9.15 - 11.05 in 8W 2.30
  • Lab classes: Starting already on the first week of term. Will be available shortly

Course Material

  • Course Text:
    Michael Wooldridge
    An Introduction to Multiagent Systems
    John Wiley & Sons, 2002
    ISBN 0 47149691X

    This is our main text book for the year. We will cover some of the chapters in the lectures while other are left as directive reading.

  • Background Reading:
    • Mike Huhns and Munindar Singh
      Readings in multi-agent systems

      A graduate text with a collection of articles from leading researchers in the field.
    • Gerhard Weiss
      Multi-agent systems

      A graduate text with a collection of articles from leading researchers in the field.

  • Online information:


rom this year, this unit will be run through the e-learning Moodle platform. The course can be found at . The site contains all the lecture hand-outs, lab tutorials, coursework descriptions and discussion forums. The portal will also be used to submit your coursework, to announce information about the course, provide feedback on your work.


The formal assesment of this unit is based on 50% coursework and 50% written exam.

  • Exam: Answer three questions out four questions on all aspects of multi-agent systems discussed in the lectures and directed reading.
  • Coursework: there are two items of assessed coursework for this unit, both dealing with different aspects of agency. Both have equal weight.

Course Outline

Below you can find the outline of this unit. The transparencies will be made available via Moodle .

  1. Course Introduction (MDV) and Introduction to intelligent agents (JAP). Publication of first coursework: Trading Agent Competition
  2. Reasoning Agents (MDV)Directed reading: reactive and hybrid agents.
  3. Communications and ontologies (JAP).
  4. Game theory (MDV).
  5. Reaching agreements: negotiation, auctions, contract net (JAP). Publication of second assignment
  6. Coallition Formation and Virtual Institutions (JAP)
  7. Logics for Multi Agent Systems (MDV).
  8. Agent-Based Simmulation (JAP).
  9. Institutions and norms (JAP).
  10. Modelling Institutions (MDV).
  11. Revision class (MDV+JAP).


There are two items of assessed coursework for this unit. Both courseworks are made available from Moodle and need to be submitted via the system.

Exam Guidance

For sample examination material you may look at:

  1. The exam questions from Liverpool, provided by Mike Wooldridge.
  2. The Level 1 and Level 2 questions at the ends of the chapters of the recommended textbook.
  3. A set of question components based on the lecture material presented in Bath. Note: these were prepared for the benefit of the first cohort of students to take this course in 2002.
  4. (Part of) The examination from S1 2002-2003 and the corresponding answers.
  5. The examination from S1 2003-2004 and the corresponding answers.
  6. And an html version of a collected set of questions from the past three years, some of which have answers.
  7. And a different collection questions from the past three years, adapted directly from the exam papers, with outline answers.