Special Issue "Blockchain Technologies for Multi-Agent Systems"

A special issue of Information (ISSN 2078-2489). This special issue belongs to the section "Information Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Davide Calvaresi
Website
Guest Editor
The Applied Intelligent Systems Lab (AISLab), University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland, Sierre, Switzerland
Interests: real-time multi-agent systems; artificial intelligence; real-time systems; eHealth; embedded systems; blockchain
Dr. Alevtina Dubovitskaya
Website
Guest Editor
Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts and Dept. of Financial Service Integration at Swisscom
Interests: eHealth; Blockchain; trusted interactions; privacy; interoperability
Prof. Dr. Michael Schumacher
Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Business Information Systems, University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland, Sierre, Switzerland
Interests: multi-agent systems; intelligent agents; artificial intelligence; workflow management systems; semantic web services; eHealth; pervasive healthcare; coordination; interoperability; peer-to-peer systems; simulations; eTourism; middleware; Java enterprise
Prof. Dr. Kuldar Taveter
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Software Science, Tallinn University of Technology, 12616 Tallinn, Estonia
Interests: agent-oriented modelling and prototyping of complex sociotechnical systems; e-government; crisis management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The overall objective of BCT4MAS is to provide a common ground to researchers and engineers coming from several areas to discuss and share knowledge, experiences, and scientific/technical contributions, in the scenarios of employing BlockChain Technologies (BCT) in Multi-Agent Systems (MAS).

On the one hand, adopting BCT can help to overcome trust and reliability limitations, broadly known in MAS literature, enabling secure, autonomous, flexible and even profitable solutions. On the other hand, MAS would contribute with its features to address limitations of BCT.

This Special Issue is meant (but not limited) to gather and enhance the visibility of the contributions of
- BCT4MAS 2018 held in Santiago, Chile, 3-4 December 2018;
- BCT4MAS 2019 held in Avila, Spain, 26-28 June 2019;
 
Therefore, the authors of the accepted papers are invited to submit extended versions of their contributions to the Special Issue “Blockchain Technologies for Multi-Agent Systems” of the journal Information, an open access information science journal.
 
Finally, authors interested in extending their conference papers must be aware that the final submitted manuscript must provide a minimum of 50% new content and not exceed 30% copy/paste from the proceedings paper. Each manuscript will be blind reviewed by I-OAISJ academic editors.
 
Dr. Davide Calvaresi
Dr. Alevtina Dubovitskaya
Prof. Dr. Michael Schumacher
Prof. Dr. Kuldar Taveter
Guest Editors
 

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Information is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Blockchain-Based Coordination: Assessing the Expressive Power of Smart Contracts
Information 2020, 11(1), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/info11010052 - 17 Jan 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
A common use case for blockchain smart contracts (SC) is that of governing interaction amongst mutually untrusted parties, by automatically enforcing rules for interaction. However, while many contributions in the literature assess SC computational expressiveness, an evaluation of their power in terms of [...] Read more.
A common use case for blockchain smart contracts (SC) is that of governing interaction amongst mutually untrusted parties, by automatically enforcing rules for interaction. However, while many contributions in the literature assess SC computational expressiveness, an evaluation of their power in terms of coordination (i.e., governing interaction) is still missing. This is why in this paper we test mainstream SC implementations by evaluating their expressive power in coordinating both inter-users and inter-SC activities. To do so, we exploit the archetypal Linda coordination model as a benchmark—a common practice in the field of coordination models and languages—by discussing to what extent mainstream blockchain technologies support its implementation. As they reveal some notable limitations (affecting, in particular, coordination between SC) we then show how Tenderfone, a custom blockchain implementation providing for a more expressive notion of SC, addresses the aforementioned limitations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain Technologies for Multi-Agent Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Simulating, Off-Chain and On-Chain: Agent-Based Simulations in Cross-Organizational Business Processes
Information 2020, 11(1), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/info11010034 - 07 Jan 2020
Abstract
Information systems execute increasingly complex business processes, often across organizations. Blockchain technology has emerged as a potential facilitator of (semi)-autonomous cross-organizational business process execution; in particular, so-called consortium blockchains can be considered as promising enablers in this context, as they do not require [...] Read more.
Information systems execute increasingly complex business processes, often across organizations. Blockchain technology has emerged as a potential facilitator of (semi)-autonomous cross-organizational business process execution; in particular, so-called consortium blockchains can be considered as promising enablers in this context, as they do not require the use of cryptocurrency-based blockchain technology, as long as the trusted (authenticated) members of the network are willing to provide computing resources for consensus-finding. However, increased autonomy in the execution of business processes also requires the delegation of business decisions to machines. To support complex decision-making processes by assessing potential future outcomes, agent-based simulations can be considered a useful tool for the autonomous enterprise. In this paper, we explore the intersection of multi-agent simulations and consortium blockchain technology in the context of enterprise applications by devising architectures and technology stacks for both off-chain and on-chain agent-based simulation in the context of blockchain-based business process execution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain Technologies for Multi-Agent Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
A Computational Study on Fairness of the Tendermint Blockchain Protocol
Information 2019, 10(12), 378; https://doi.org/10.3390/info10120378 - 30 Nov 2019
Abstract
Fairness is a crucial property for blockchain systems since it affects the participation: the ones that find the system fair tend to stay or enter, the ones that find the system unfair tend to leave. While current literature mainly focuses on fairness for [...] Read more.
Fairness is a crucial property for blockchain systems since it affects the participation: the ones that find the system fair tend to stay or enter, the ones that find the system unfair tend to leave. While current literature mainly focuses on fairness for Bitcoin-like blockchains, little has been done to analyze Tendermint. Tendermint is a blockchain technology that uses a committee-based consensus algorithm, which finds an agreement among a set of block creators (called validators), even if some are malicious. Validators are regularly selected to the committee based on their investments. When a validator does not have enough asset to invest, it can increase it with the help of participants that delegate their assets to the validators (called delegators). In this paper, we implement the default Tendermint model and a Tendermint model for fairness in a multi-agent blockchain simulator where participants are modeled as rational agents who enter or leave the system based on their utility values. We conducted experiments for both models where agents have different investment strategies and with various numbers of delegators. In the light of our experimental evaluation, we observed that while, for both models, the fairness decreases and the system shrinks in the absence of delegators, the fairness increases, and the system expands for the second model in the presence of delegators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain Technologies for Multi-Agent Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
The Good, the Bad, and the Ethical Implications of Bridging Blockchain and Multi-Agent Systems
Information 2019, 10(12), 363; https://doi.org/10.3390/info10120363 - 22 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The agent based approach is a well established methodology to model distributed intelligent systems. Multi-Agent Systems (MAS) are increasingly employed in applications dealing with safety and information critical tasks (e.g., in eHealth, financial, and energy domains). Therefore, transparency and the trustworthiness of the [...] Read more.
The agent based approach is a well established methodology to model distributed intelligent systems. Multi-Agent Systems (MAS) are increasingly employed in applications dealing with safety and information critical tasks (e.g., in eHealth, financial, and energy domains). Therefore, transparency and the trustworthiness of the agents and their behaviors must be enforced. For example, employing reputation based mechanisms can promote the development of trust. Nevertheless, besides recent early stage studies, the existing methods and systems are still unable to guarantee the desired accountability and transparency adequately. In line with the recent trends, we advocate that combining blockchain technology (BCT) and MAS can achieve the distribution of the trust, removing the need for trusted third parties (TTP), potential single points of failure. This paper elaborates on the notions of trust, BCT, MAS, and their integration. Furthermore, to attain a trusted environment, this manuscript details the design and implementation of a system reconciling MAS (based on the Java Agent DEvelopment Framework (JADE)) and BTC (based on Hyperledger Fabric). In particular, the agents’ interactions, computation, tracking the reputation, and possible policies for disagreement-management are implemented via smart contracts and stored on an immutable distributed ledger. The results obtained by the presented system and similar solutions are also discussed. Finally, ethical implications (i.e., opportunities and challenges) are elaborated before concluding the paper. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain Technologies for Multi-Agent Systems)
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