Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Good Guy Zoav

Well well well!

After all my belly-aching about how there were no good, solid CS sources for information on multi-agent software, I came across Yoav Shoham. The guy's my new hero. He saved me from the legion of terrible, horrible, hand-wave "BUT IT'S LIKE REAL INTELLIGENCE, ONLY IT'S NOT" papers.

I came across him by asking Friend Google about "seminal work on agents", and his name kept on being dropped for his highly-cited paper Agented-Oriented Programming (1993). I stalked him looked him up a little further, and he's running a research group that puts out a respectable amount of research at Stanford, and he's recently (well, relatively recently) put out a great book on the topic: "Multiagent Systems: Algorithmic, Game Theoretic and Logical Foundations". Our local academic library, as much as I love it, takes ages to get new material even if explicitly requested. I put in a request anyway, but with little hope to get the book before my contract at Rhodes expires and I it's no longer useful to me.

I pondered just picking it up for myself (it's really reasonable for a high-quality text), but then...
Good Guy Yoav to the rescue! He generously offers the free ebook for download if you can't afford it or can't get access to it.

I love this guy. I've spent years looking to break into this field, ranging from an inkling of interest to building my own agents of varying scale and ambition.

I've started reading his book, and I just need to say: wow. I'm loving every page! It starts with a solid grounding in algorithms and logic, which is exactly what I wanted to banish my concerns that it was going to be another "we needed a paper at the last moment and Bob can hand-wave well" text. Thank you Yoav, you're my new hero!

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