Multi-Agent Collaboration and Execution (MACE)

Period of Performance: 12/07/1999 - 12/14/2000


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

CHI Systems, Inc.
2250 Hickory Road Suite 150
Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


Under Strike Force concepts being developed by several battle labs, future weapon systems will be agent-controlled. However, "brilliant" weapons must coordinate their weapon effects. Limited systems acquisition means there will be limited excess capacity on the battlefield. Failure to closely coordinate the brilliant weapon systems for maximum effect may well mean that there are insufficient munitions available to win. An extremely flexible, multi-agent collaboration and engagement (MACE) architecture is needed whereby brilliant systems perform nearly autonomous coordination to maximize combined weapons effects. Human intervention will be required to set control parameters for the architecture, but we expect the future tempo of target acquistion, decision, and attack to outpace human abilities. MACE will feature: real-time performance; reactive behavior; machine learning; distributed, collaborative decision making; abstracted reasoning and control; information fusion; track correlation; and extensible design. Phase I will develop a MACE reference architecture, reflecting a concept of networked decision making nodes, which may or may not have human operators. The effort will address strategies and methodologies for multi-agent collaboration for decision making, and identify preliminary performance characteristics. Initially, MACE will be aimed at the concept of Effects Control Centers, which would be the nodes at which multi-agent collaboration would occur. BENEFITS: MACE will fill a long-term need for the coordinated application of the combined terminal effects of numerous brilliant weapons systems now in development. The agent-controlled operation of these systems is currently uncoordinated. MACE concepts and implementations will serve as a technical base for technology insertion into a number of Army Science and Technology Objective (STO) programs under consideration for Strike Force operations research. The MACE conceptual architecture can also be applied to civilian domains such as fire fighting, emergency management, and police operations.