FoCAS at ALA 2014

FoCAS sponsored a best paper award at ALA 2014 (Adaptive and Learning Agents Workshop) held at the AAMAS 2014 conference in Paris on 5-6 May.

FoCAS ALA Berst Paper Award

The prize of a free place at the FOCAS Summer School in Crete on 23-27 June was won by authors Daan Bloembergen, Daniel Hennes, Peter McBurney, and Karl Tuyls for their paper “Trading in Markets with Noisy Information: An Evolutionary Analysis

Daan Bloembergen is a PhD student at the Department of Knowledge Engineering at Maastricht University who is spending his final project year with the Agent ART group at the Department of Computer Science, University of Liverpool working alongside the other authors. Daniel Hennes is from the Advanced Concepts Team at the European Space Agency in the Netherlands, Peter McBurney is from Kings College London and Karl Tuyls is Professor of Computer Science at the University of Liverpool.

Their ALA workshop paper analysed the value of information in a stock market where information can be noisy and costly, using techniques from empirical game theory. Previous work shows that the value of information follows a J-curve, where averagely informed traders perform below market average, and only insiders prevail. However, both noise and cost can change this picture, in several cases leading to opposite results where insiders perform below market average, and averagely informed traders prevail. Their results provide insight into the complexity of real marketplaces, and show under which conditions a broad mix of different trading strategies might be sustainable.

Videos from the event

Daniel Kudenko

Manuela Veloso

Sam Devlin

Daniel Hennes


FoCAS is sponsoring a best paper award at ALA 2014 (Adaptive and Learning Agents Workshop held at AAMAS 2014 in Paris on 5-6 May; see The prize will be a free place at the FOCAS Summer School in Crete on 23-27 June including accommodation and meals.


Final Call For Papers: Adaptive and Learning Agents Workshop 2014 (Paris, France)

Paper deadline: JANUARY 31, 2014

ALA 2014: Adaptive and Learning Agents Workshop held at AAMAS 2014 (Paris, France). The ALA workshop has a long and successful history and is now in its sixth edition. The workshop is a merger of European ALAMAS and the American ALAg series which is usually held at AAMAS. Details may be found on the workshop web site:

Adaptive and Learning Agents, particularly those in a multi-agent setting are becoming more and more prominent as the sheer size and complexity of many real world systems grows How to adaptively control, coordinate and optimize such systems is an emerging multi-disciplinary research area at the intersection of Computer Science, Control theory, Economics, and Biology. The ALA workshop will focus on agent and multi-agent systems which employ learning or adaptation.

The goal of this workshop is to increase awareness and interest in adaptive agent research, encourage collaboration and give a representative overview of current research in the area of adaptive and learning agents and multi-agent systems. It aims at bringing together not only scientists from different areas of computer science but also from different fields studying similar concepts (e.g., game theory, bio-inspired control, mechanism design).

This workshop will focus on all aspects of adaptive and learning agents and multi-agent systems with a particular emphasis on how to modify established learning techniques and/or create new learning paradigms to address the many challenges presented by complex real-world problems.

The topics of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Novel combinations of reinforcement and supervised learning approaches
  • Integrated learning approaches that work with other agent reasoning modules like
    negotiation, trust models, coordination, etc.
  • Supervised multi-agent learning
  • Reinforcement learning (single and multi-agent)
  • Planning (single and multi-agent)
  • Reasoning (single and multi-agent)
  • Distributed learning
  • Adaptation and learning in dynamic environments
  • Evolution of agents in complex environments
  • Co-evolution of agents in a multi-agent setting
  • Cooperative exploration and learning to cooperate and collaborate
  • Learning to cooperate and collaborate
  • Learning trust and reputation
  • Communication restrictions and their impact on multi-agent coordination
  • Design of reward structure and fitness measures for coordination
  • Scaling learning techniques to large systems of learning and adaptive agents
  • Emergent behaviour in adaptive multi-agent systems
  • Game theoretical analysis of adaptive multi-agent systems
  • Neuro-control in multi-agent systems
  • Bio-inspired multi-agent systems
  • Applications of adaptive and learning agents and multi-agent systems to real world complex

This year we will be presenting a best paper award sponsored by FOCAS ( The prize will be a free place at the FOCAS Summer School including accommodation and meals, but not including travel. The summer school will be held 23-27 June in Crete and will consist of lectures and case studies done in small teams. FOCAS will also feature the winning paper on their website (

The workshop will also include a half day tutorial on multi-agent reinforcement learning. Previous versions of this tutorial were successfully run at EASSS 2004 (the European Agent Systems Summer School), ECML 2005, ICML 2006, EWRL 2008 and AAMAS 2009-2013, and ECML 2013 with different collaborators. The ALA 2014 edition will include revised and updated content with a new focus on reward shaping covering in particular depth – difference rewards and potential-based reward shaping.

Submission Details

Papers can be submitted through Easychair: Submissions may be up to 8 pages in the ACM proceedings format (i.e., the same as AAMAS papers in the main conference track). Accepted work will be allocated time for oral presentation during the one day workshop. Papers accepted at the workshop will also be eligible for inclusion in a special issue published after the workshop.

Submission Deadline: January 31, 2014
Notification of acceptance: February 19, 2014
Camera-ready copies: March 10, 2014
Workshop: May 5-6, 2014