Abstract: Future command teams will exists of human and artificial actors. This paper introduces
a taxonomy of collaboration types in human – agent teams. Using two classifying
dimensions, coordination type and collaboration type, eight different classes of human
– agent collaborations transpire. These classes might aid designers in pinpointing the
socio-technical design issues associated with these kinds of hybrid organizations.
Abstract: One of the first requirements for building multi-agent systems with complex and dynamic structures is to have agents that are able to operate in such organizations. Being able to adopt different organizational roles is one of the key requirements for an agent in order to have this ability. Another requirement for the agent we intend to build is the ability to operate in a dynamic environment. This means the agent has to be able to construct a plan for the task it is about to perform and while performing the task, the agent has to be able to evaluate whether the plan is still valid. When changes in the environment have caused the plan to become invalid, the agent needs to be able to generate a new and valid plan for the task. The agent architecture that is described in this document is a step towards an agent that meets these requirements of operating in a dynamic organization and dynamic environment.
Abstract: In this paper we present a decision making framework to enable agents to dynamically select a coordination mechanism. To demonstrate our approach we introduce an abstract task environment in which agents have to cooperate to achieve their goals. These agents are capable of using two coordination mechanisms, a centralized and a decentralized mechanism. We show how the decision making framework is operationalized in this abstract task environment. Furthermore, in an experiment we compare the performance of two static organizations with an organization in which agents have the ability to switch between coordination mechanisms. Results show that the ability to switch improves performance of the MAS.
Abstract: The project ‘SlimVerbinden’ addresses the challenge of retaining
autonomy while sharing information among multiple parties. Based on a web of
trust, information providers can grant and deny access to information, while
information consumers can delegate access to specific members within their
‘organization’ (which can be defined within and/or across existing organizations).
The policy- and PKI-based realization enables an agent-based secure shared distributed
dataspace where no single party knows ‘everything’ and the barriers to
information sharing are lowered. The use-case involves public–private cooperation
during the mitigation of an incident and drives the development of an operational
Abstract: Emergency situations occur unpredictably and cause individuals and organizations to shift their focus and attention immediately to dealing with the situation. When disasters become large in scale all the limitations resulting from a lack of integration and collaboration among all the involved organizations begin to expose themselves and further compound the negative consequences of the event. Often in large scale disasters the people who must work together have no history of doing so, they have not developed a trust or understanding of one another’s abilities, and the totality of resources they each bring to bear were never before exercised. As a result, the challenges for individual or group decision support systems (DSS) in emergency situations are diverse and immense. In this chapter, we present recent advances in this area and highlight important remaining challenges.
Abstract: This paper reintroduces concepts from sensemaking in Media Synchronicity Theory (MST). It focuses on how media should support synchronicity to fit communication needs when making sense of a humanitarian crisis situation. Findings from interviews with senior management of humanitarian aid organizations in the Democratic Republic of Congo show that, contrary to what is suggested by MST, low synchronicity media are not sufficient to support conveyance processes. Instead, information and communication systems should support these actors in connecting, building, and maintaining their networks of contacts. Also, information and communications systems need to be designed to support the observed sensemaking communication activities of noticing, updating, inquiring, triangulating, verifying, reflecting, enacting, and interpreting.
Abstract: Results from disaster research suggest that methods for coordination between individual emergency responders and organizations should recognize the independence and autonomy of these actors. These actor features are key factors in effective adaptation and improvisation of response to emergency situations which are inherently uncertain. Autonomy and adaptability are also well-known aspects of a multi-agent system (MAS). In this paper we present two MAS strategies that can effectively handle aircraft deicing incidents. These MAS strategies help improve to prevent and reduce e.g. airplane delays at deicing stations due to changing weather conditions or incidents at the station, where aircraft agents adopting pre-made plans that would act on behalf of aircraft pilots or companies, would only create havoc. Herein each agent using its own decision mechanism deliberates about the uncertainty in the problem domain and the preferences (or priorities) of the agents. Furthermore, taking both these issues into account each proposed MAS strategy outperforms a naive first-come, first-served coordination strategy. The simulation results help pilots and companies taking decisions with respect to the scheduling of the aircraft for deicing when unexpected incidents occur: they provide insights in the impacts and means for robust selection of incident-specific strategies on e.g. deicing station delays of (individual) aircraft.
Abstract: This research report investigates how computational modeling and simulation can be used to increase insight in organizational behaviour. Such an increased insight in organizational behaviour is to benefit system design and development for complex safety and security operations (such as incident management) in which different organizations are to cooperate, and perform their tasks by means of (shared) socio-technical information and communication systems.
Topics that are discussed in this research report are: the relevance of modeling & simulation for research and for system design & development; approaches to modeling and simulation; modeling of individual behaviour and social behaviour (on a team/organizational level); comparative criteria for models and tools; and validation and verification of models.
This research report concludes with a summary of its main findings, and recommendations for the use of organizational modeling and simulation for system design and development. The appendices provide an overview of modeling and simulation tools; and provide an overview of research institutes, conferences, journals and books that are relevant for organizational modeling and simulation.
Abstract: International humanitarian aid and development organizations active in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are faced with an ongoing crisis situation. Using any formal or informal information source available, they are constantly acquiring and processing information that may indicate the possible surge of an acute crisis. Information systems (IS) that enable effective and efficient information processing and decision making within and among the organizations are therefore a critically important asset to these organizations. We present a concise set of design premises that have been developed for dynamic emergency response management information systems, and we introduce the theory of Sensemaking as a lens to observe and analyze the information processing and decision making behavior of organizations. Based on interviews conducted among senior management of international aid and development organizations operating in the DRC, our findings illustrate the constant Sensemaking behavior of these organizations and provide a motivation for the proposed IS design premises.
Abstract: The United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) system is designed to assist the United Nations in providing information during the first phase of a sudden-onset emergency and in the coordination of incoming international relief at the site of the emergency. In the immediate aftermath of such an emergency, the UNDAC team will set up an On-Site Operations Coordination Centre (OSOCC) from where the operational activities of the humanitarian organizations responding to the emergency are coordinated. Information management is a key aspect in this phase as the information gathering, processing, and disseminating activities will determine the timeliness and appropriateness of the response by the international humanitarian community. Through participatory observation in the international humanitarian “TRIPLEX” exercise we explore how information managers in the OSOCC make sense of the disaster, how the immediate needs are assessed, and discuss how information systems could improve Sensemaking in these activities.
Abstract: This paper introduces the Windmill method for
constructing situation sensitive communication support systems for organizations consisting of a network of autonomous professionals involved in standard duties encountering occasional incidents of a time-critical nature for which they have to call for help. The Windmill method is based on statistical data filtering techniques for ranking available resources to handle incident according to their availability, location, skills and experience. It is especially useful for domains in which the human workforce changes over time and incidents are relatively sparse with respect to location
and frequency of occurrence.
Abstract: Collaboration environments impose high demands on humans and
artificial systems. Especially during critical tasks team members, including
humans, artificial systems and other (sub-) teams, require support to guarantee
their continued effectiveness. Effectiveness of individuals and teams is an
important ingredient for organizational effectiveness, managerial decision
quality, as well as for maintaining organizational awareness. In this position
paper we introduce our conceptual view on realizing sustained team
effectiveness, in which both the measurement of effectiveness and team
management play an important role. A unified, interdisciplinary approach
facilitates measuring effectiveness in more complex organizations.
Abstract: Collaboration environments impose high demands on humans and artificial systems. Especially during critical tasks team members, including humans, artificial systems and other (sub-) teams, require support to guarantee their continued effectiveness. Effectiveness of individuals and teams is an important ingredient for organizational effectiveness, managerial decision quality, as well as for maintaining organizational awareness. In this position paper we introduce our conceptual view on realizing sustained team effectiveness, in which both the measurement of effectiveness and team management play an important role. A unified, interdisciplinary approach facilitates measuring effectiveness in more complex organizations.