Work in progress.

The framework has two distinctive parts.

  • A core that is developed by the team as well as external contributors.
  • Extensions (also known as packages) developed by any developer which promotes a modular and scalable framework.

Currently, the framework supports three types of packages which can be added to the core as modules:

  • Skills
  • Protocols
  • Connections

The following figure illustrates the framework's architecture:

The AEA Framework Architecture

In most cases, as a developer in the AEA framework, it is sufficient to focus on skills development, utilising existing protocols and connections. The later doesn't try to discourage you though, from creating your own connections or protocols but you will need a better understanding of the framework than creating a skill.


The agent operation breaks down into three parts:

  • Setup: calls the setup() method of all registered resources
  • Operation:
    • Main loop (Thread 1 - Synchronous):
      • react(): this function grabs all Envelopes waiting in the InBox queue and calls the handle() function on the Handler(s) responsible for them.
      • act(): this function calls the act() function of all registered Behaviours.
      • update(): this function enqueues scheduled tasks for execution with the TaskManager.
    • Task loop (Thread 2- Synchronous): executes available tasks
    • Decision maker loop (Thread 3- Synchronous): processes internal messages
    • Multiplexer (Thread 4 - Asynchronous event loop): the multiplexer has an event loop which processes incoming and outgoing messages across several connections asynchronously.
  • Teardown: calls the teardown() method of all registered resources