Multiagent Systems: Algorithmic, Game-Theoretic, and Logical Foundations by Yoav Shoham and Kevin Leyton-Brown.
From the webpage:
Multiagent systems consist of multiple autonomous entities having different information and/or diverging interests. This comprehensive introduction to the field offers a computer science perspective, but also draws on ideas from game theory, economics, operations research, logic, philosophy and linguistics. It will serve as a reference for researchers in each of these fields, and be used as a text for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses.
Emphasizing foundations, the authors offer a broad and rigorous treatment of their subject, with thorough presentations of distributed problem solving, non-cooperative game theory, multiagent communication and learning, social choice, mechanism design, auctions, coalitional game theory, and logical theories of knowledge, belief, and other aspects of rational agency. For each topic, basic concepts are introduced, examples are given, proofs of key results are offered, and algorithmic considerations are examined. An appendix covers background material in probability theory, classical logic, Markov decision processes, and mathematical programming.
Even better from the introduction:
Imagine a personal software agent engaging in electronic commerce on your behalf. Say the task of this agent is to track goods available for sale in various online venues over time, and to purchase some of them on your behalf for an attractive price. In order to be successful, your agent will need to embody your preferences for products, your budget, and in general your knowledge about the environment in which it will operate. Moreover, the agent will need to embody your knowledge of other similar agents with which it will interact (e.g., agents who might compete with it in an auction, or agents representing store owners)—including their own preferences and knowledge. A collection of such agents forms a multiagent system. The goal of this book is to bring under one roof a variety of ideas and techniques that provide foundations for modeling, reasoning about, and building multiagent systems.
Somewhat strangely for a book that purports to be rigorous, we will not give a precise definition of a multiagent system. The reason is that many competing, mutually inconsistent answers have been offered in the past. Indeed, even the seemingly simpler question—What is a (single) agent?—has resisted a definitive answer. For our purposes, the following loose definition will suffice: Multiagent systems are those systems that include multiple autonomous entities with either diverging information or diverging interests, or both.
This looks like a great item for a wish list this close to the holidays. Broad enough to keep your interest up and relevant enough to argue you are “working” and not just reading. 😉