This paper is devoted to exploring the relationships between computational agents, as they can be found in multi-agent systems (MAS) or Distributed Artificial Intelligence (DAI), and the different techniques regrouped under the generic name “multi-agent based simulation” (MABS). Its main purpose is to show that MABS, despite its name, is in fact rarely based on computational agents. We base our demonstration on an innovative presentation of the methodological process used in the development of current MABS systems. This presentation relies on the definition of the different roles involved in the design process, and we are able to show that the notion of “agent”, although shared at a conceptual level by the different participants, does not imply a systematic use of computational agents in the systems deployed. We then conclude by discussing what the use of computational agents, based on the most interesting research trends in DAI or MAS, might provide MABS with.
Download Full PDF Version (Non-Commercial Use)