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Simple Agent Framework: An educational tool introducing the basics of AI programming

Maja Pantic, Reinier Zwitserloot, Robbert-Jan Grootjans

Conference or Workshop Paper
IEEE Int'l Conf. on Information Technology: Research and Education 2003
August, 2003
ISBN 0-7803-7878-4

This paper describes a Java-implemented agent framework developed for the purposes of an introductory undergraduate course of Knowledge Engineering. Although numerous agent frameworks have been proposed in the vast body of literature, none of these available agent frameworks is simple enough for the usage by first year undergraduate students of computer science. Hence, we set out to create our own framework that would fulfill all requirements, satisfying the aims of the course, the computing skills level of the intended group of students, and the size of the intended group of students. Besides the designed agent framework, which embodies the concepts of concurrency, multi-agent systems, and persistency, the strategy decided upon the best possible utilization of the developed tool for the goals of guiding and instructing the students in their learning of AI concepts and techniques, is also discussed. The results of the coursework suggest that the developed agent framework is highly suitable for the purposes of teaching the students the AI basics including the knowledge representation schemes, rule-based reasoning and intelligent agents paradigm.

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