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Release of computerised agent simulator for disaster management

A new simulator which will lead to the creation of more effective computerised agents in disaster scenarios has been made available by the University of Southampton.

A team of computer scientists led by Professor Nick Jennings at the University's School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) has officially released ECSKernel, a test bed for multi-agent systems.

‘This work highlights the importance of using advanced computer techniques for real world problems such as disaster response,' said Professor Jennings. 'We are happy to be at the forefront of work in this area and hope that many other groups around the world will use and build upon the system we have developed.’

The simulator was designed as part of ALADDIN (Autonomous Learning Agents for Decentralised Data), a five-year project funded by BAE Systems and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to research agent-based technologies to work in emergency situations.

It simulates the events that happen during disaster rescue scenarios and allows users to benchmark and evaluate the effectiveness of their agent-based technologies in these environments.

'ECSKernel provides a realistic environment within which several teams of agents are faced with a number of disaster rescue tasks such as extinguishing fires and saving civilians trapped in buildings,' said Dr Sarvapali Ramchurn from the ECS team. 'It is based on the Robocup Rescue Simulation platform and was developed as a result of the simulator winning the RoboCup Rescue World Championships last year.'

ECSKernel can be downloaded from: or

Helene Murphy | alfa
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