Welcome to ADE!

ADE is the Agent Development Environment conceived and developed by Matthias Scheutz with the help of several collaborators (most notably James Kramer and Paul Schermerhorn) over the last twelve years.  ADE is a multi-agent system (MAS) middleware intended for the design, implementation, and testing of distributed agent architectures with special emphasis on complex robotic systems and human-robot interaction (HRI).

Historically, ADE started as a set of JAVA classes to communicate with simple robots over a serial interface in 1997.  These JAVA classes were extended in 1999 at the University of Notre Dame under the name of AgeS to interface various robots (including the Trilobot and various MobileRobots Pioneer robots).  The universal agent architecture framework APOC developed in the early 2000s led to a systematic reorganization of AgeS, with particular attention to the needs of complex agent architectures for robots.  Further restructering of APOC/AgeS in the 2004-2006 time frame resulted in an extensive code based that consisted of both infrastructure components as well as implemented components with specific functionalities (e.g., audio and vision processing components, planning components, reasoning components, natural language components, etc.).  The infastructure was renamed into ADE and made available both as alpha (in 2004) and beta versions (in 2006) on sourceforge.  In recent years, ADE has been demonstrated on a variety of additional robots (including the Willow Garage PR2, the Xitome MDS, the Segway RPM, the Aldebaran Nao, as well as various purpose-built robots such as the Indiana University Golfcart). 

ADE is currently used by several research labs in North America and Europe, most notably by the Human-Robot Interaction Laboratory at Tufts University (USA), for developing complex robotic architectures with natural language capabilities for human-robot interaction (click here for a demo of the DIARC architecture implemented in ADE).  It has also been used both on Unix-based platforms (like Linux, Solaris, and MacOSX) and Windows-based platforms (like Windows XP, Windows2000, and Windows Vista), although support is only provided for Linux.  While ADE has been developed with a focus on complex robots, it has been used in a variety of other, non-robotic applications, including live audio and video streaming in distributed systems, intelligent computerized survey taking, multi-modal interactions with smart devices, etc.

ADE is unique among robotic development environments (RDE) in that it integrates detailed access control and security mechanisms into the MAS middleware, thus allowing for the secure execution of distributed architecture components on possibly untrusted hosts. ADE also allows for the automatic configuration and startup of distributed architectural components, provides system-wide logging capabilities and multi-session graphical user interfaces for administrating and monitoring a distributed ADE system.  Moreover, ADE uniquely integrates automatic mechanisms for fault detection and systematic error recovery, which can be accessed and tightly integrated into the agent control architecture implemented in ADE.  Finally, ADE provides standard interfaces to common RDEs like Player/Stage, ROS, Carmen, and MARIE.  For publications on ADE describing its various features, click here.

To browse the javadocs of ADE and several ADE components developed as part of the robotic DIARC architecture, click here.

For a simple demonstration of ADE and an architecture to play with, consider the four programming assignments given as part of the behavior-based robotics class at Indiana University Bloomington: toy1, toy2, toy3, and toy4.

The current 1.0 gamma version of ADE from January 2010 (available here on sourceforge for download) has been extensively tested in a variety of robotic applications. There are still some known bugs that are currently being ironed out and features lacking that are currently being implemented (most notably on the GUI side).

Last modified by Matthias Scheutz on October 29, 2011