The design of a multi-agent system for flaw-response modelling

McKenna, J. and Gachagan, A. and McArthur, S.D.J. and McLean, N. (2007) The design of a multi-agent system for flaw-response modelling. Insight: The Journal of the British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing, 49 (2). pp. 74-78. ISSN 1354-2575 (

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Theoretical flaw-response modelling programs are used to simulate ultrasonic flaw detection and provide a cheap and fast alternative to test-piece trials during the Inspection Qualification (IQ) process. The selection of the most appropriate model for a given test scenario requires a high level of technical expertise, necessitating the use of a qualified NDT engineer. Moreover, due to the heterogeneous nature of these models, integration with other NDT software tools can be difficult and requires the user to be responsible for data management within the system. The multi-agent system (MAS) utilises intelligent software agents capable of autonomous behaviour and decision-making skills in order to create a single software environment to provide support for IQ. The motivation behind this MAS approach, the design and implementation of the agents and the benefits offered by the MAS will be described. A test scenario of a multi-agent IQ will be used to demonstrate the potential advantages offered by this novel systems approach. Specifically, the contribution of these modelling agents to the overall system and their interactions with other tools to automate the IQ process will be addressed.