Thursday, August 04, 2005

Autonomous Robots

I work with agent technologies so the word "autonomous" immediately sprang out to me when I was glancing over the programme to see what I should be going to next, so in the end I decided to go to the Open Source Paths for Autonomous Robots session given by Joe Bosworth and Joe Monti from Smart Robots, Inc.

Autonomous Robots (Windows Media)

It looks like they're looking to gather a group of open source developers around their platform to work on autonomous systems and to make a serious push towards a standardised open source solution for self-learning systems. Interesting...

Update: The guys got a grilling over their choice of Java for their systems, okay, I might have had something to do with that. On the other hand it does look like they have a document literal XML interface at least at a higher level for interchange of information between the robots themselves. Again, interesting. Still, it's a pity about the Java...


  1. Anonymous6:34 pm

    Whilst there are some issues with Java in respect to open source, its capabilities with respect to cross platform deployment, scalability and interoperability with other languages have made it a favourite within the agent community.

    In fact I think that you would be hard pressed to find a multi agent system platform that is not built upon Java, e.g. JADE, Jackdaw, Jack, &c.

    On another topic, why weren't you at AAMAS rather than the O'Reilly tech conference?

  2. I think this depends on what you mean by the agent community, do you mean those people doing research into agent technologies, or do you mean those people trying to use the architecture and concepts coming out of the first group to actually get something done?

    If you're talking about the second group, which I'd put myself in, there aren't that many of using Java.

    I also missed the Automated Reasoning Workshop in Edinburgh. You can't have everything...

  3. Anonymous10:23 pm

    I'd first like to thank you for your input at the session. All feedback, even those which incite a small riot about our language of choice, is encouraged and appreciated. ;)

    On to Java ... As with any language, there are pluses and minuses. I/We think that at the level we're using Java it is quite appropriate. As an example, much of our time-dependent tasks are delegated to external boards, so the relatively sloppy time management within Java is not an issue. We also rely heavily on Java concepts such as class loading (for the module loading/unloading architecture) and reflection (for XML processing. It's actually pretty neat how this works).

    However, we are in the process of designing a system for allowing non-Java applications to work with our software (in addition to the XML message system we discussed in the session).

    If you are interested in learning more about our software, the user, developer, and API documentation can be found at our website.