Description: This research investigated a neglected problem - interruption of groups by agent advisory systems. The question was whether interruption by the agent advisory system was beneficial. A survey of literature in four areas is included in this dissertation. The areas surveyed were Agents, Online Help, Computer Supported Cooperative Work(CSCW) and Awareness in CSCW. Based on the review, a human subject experiment was conducted. The study investigated whether the style of agent advisory interface improved the performance of group members. There were three sets of groups, a control set that did not have advisory agents, a set that had system provided advisory agents and a set that had group customized advisory agents. The groups worked together using a CSCW application developed with GroupKit, a CSCW toolkit. The groups with group customized advisory agents used an Agent Manager application to define advisory agents that would give them advice as they worked in the CSCW application. The findings showed that the type of advisory agents did not significantly influence the performance of the groups. The groups with customized agents performed slightly better than the other groups but the difference was not statistically significant. When notified that advice was issued, groups with customized agents and groups with provided agents seldom accessed the agent's advice. General design guidelines for agent interruption have not been solved. Future work is needed to finish the job. The definitive solution may be some mixture of the three known individual design solutions.
Date: December 2001
Creator: Ducksworth, Letatia Bright
Partner: UNT Libraries