We are interested in systems of cyber-physical agents that operate in unpredictable, possibly hostile, environments using locally obtainable information. How can we specify robust agents that are able to operate alone and/or in cooperation with other agents? What properties are important? How can they be verified? In this tutorial we describe a framework called Soft Agents, formalized in the Maude rewriting logic system. Features of the framework include: explicit representation of the physical state as well as the cyber perception of this state; robust communication via sharing of partially ordered knowledge, and robust behavior based on soft constraints. Using Maude functionality, the soft agent framework supports experimenting with, formally testing, and reasoning about specifications of agent systems. The tutorial begins with a discussion of desiderata for soft agent models. Use of the soft agent framework for specification and formal analysis of agent systems illustrated in some detail by a case-study involving simple patrolling bots. A more complex case study involving surveillance drones is also discussed.

Detection and Diagnosis of Deviations in Distributed Systems of Autonomous Agents
Computer Security

Talcott, C, Nigam, V, Arbab, F, & Kappé, T.W.J. (2016). Formal specification and analysis of robust adaptive distributed cyber-physical systems. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-34096-8_1