Elements of an Agent-based Mediative Communication Protocol for Design Objects
Integrated structural engineering system usually consists of large number of design objects that may be distributed across different platforms. These design objects need to communicate data and information among each other. For efficient communication among design objects a common communication protocol need to be defined. This paper presents the elements of a communication protocol that uses a mediator agent to facilitate communication among design objects. This protocol is termed the Mediative Communication Protocol (MCP). The protocol uses certain design communication performatives and the semantics of an Agent Communication language (ACL) mainly the Knowledge and Query Manipulation Language (KQML) to implement its steps. Details of a Mediator Agent, that will facilitate the communication among design objects, is presented. The Unified Modeling Language (UML) is used to present the Meditative protocol and show how the mediator agent can be use to execute the steps of the meditative communication protocol. An example from structural engineering application is presented to demonstrate and validate the protocol. It is concluded that the meditative protocol is a viable protocol to facilitate object-to-object communication and also has potential to facilitate communication among the different project participants at the higher level of integrated structural engineering systems.