The Distributed Weighing Problem: A Lesson in Cooperation Without Communication

  • Tibor Bosse
  • Mark Hoogendoorn
  • Catholijn M. Jonker
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 3550)


Cooperative problem solving without communication is an often-studied field within multi-agent research. Realistic problems investigated in this particular field are complex and difficult to model, and therefore not suitable for education. This paper presents the distributed weighing problem as a novel problem to be used for educational purposes within the domain of cooperation without communication. An example agent-based architecture is developed of which parts can be provided to students as a starting-point for practical exercises in cooperative problem solving without communication. Two example strategies are discussed and implemented using this example architecture. Moreover, it is shown how such strategies can be tested and formally validated against a number of desired properties. The educational benefits of the distributed weighing problem are presented as observed in a course for 6 groups of each 3 students.


External World Ball Problem Educational Purpose Observation Result Sequential Protocol 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tibor Bosse
    • 1
  • Mark Hoogendoorn
    • 1
  • Catholijn M. Jonker
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Artificial IntelligenceVrije Universiteit AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Nijmegen Institute for Cognition and InformationRadboud Universiteit NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands

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