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Social networks in simulated multi‐robot environment

Daniel Rodić (Department of Computer Science, School of Information Technology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa)
Andries P. Engelbrecht (Department of Computer Science, School of Information Technology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa)

International Journal of Intelligent Computing and Cybernetics

ISSN: 1756-378X

Article publication date: 28 March 2008




The purpose of this paper is to present a novel approach to coordination of multi‐agent teams, and in particular multi‐robot teams. The new approach is based on models of organisational sociology, namely the concept of social networks. The social relationships used in the model that is presented in this paper are trust and kinship relationships, but modified for use in heterogeneous multi‐robot teams.


The coordination of a robot team is achieved through task allocation. The proposed task allocation mechanism was tested in the multi‐robot team task allocation simulation.


The social networks‐based task allocation algorithm has performed according to expectations and the obtained results are very promising. Some intriguing similarities with higher mammalian societies were observed and they are discussed in this paper. The social networks‐based approach also exhibited the ability to learn and store information using social networks.

Research limitations/implications

The research focused on simulated environments and further research is envisaged in the physical environments to confirm the applicability of the presented approach.

Practical implications

In this paper, the proposed coordination was applied to simulated multi‐robot teams. It is important to note that the proposed coordination model is not robot specific, but can also be applied to almost any multi‐agent system without major modifications.


The paper emphasizes applicability of considering multi‐robot teams as socially embodied agents. It also presents a novel and efficient approach to task allocation.



Rodić, D. and Engelbrecht, A.P. (2008), "Social networks in simulated multi‐robot environment", International Journal of Intelligent Computing and Cybernetics, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 110-127.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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