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There's a lot of open issues
Simple multi-agent framework. It uses AMQP for it's messaging layer.


~> 1.0, ~> 1.6
= 1.0.1
~> 1.1
= 0.9.16
~> 2.1
~> 2.0
~> 1.10
>= 2.11.4, ~> 2.11
~> 3.4
~> 0.3
~> 2.0
 Project Readme

Smith — A simple Multi Agent System (MAS) based on AMQP and protobuf.


Smith is an Multi Agent system that allows agents to be easily controlled by sending messages to an agency that does your bidding. It also provides an ACL framework so agents can very easily communicate. All communication is done over an AMQP message passing layer.

Getting started


First of you need a config file: .smithrc. This can be in the current working directory, $HOME, /etc/smithrc or /etc/smith/smithrc. These files will be searched for in that order. If a valid config can't be found the agency will fail. See the examples directory for an example.

A number of config options can also be set using environment variables:


The pid and cache directories must exist beforehand.

The agency

The agency is used to control the agents: start, stop, list running agents, etc. Once started it simply listens for messages telling it what to do. To start the agency you simple type:


It will log messages as specified in .smithrc. I suggest for all development work you set logging.appender = stderr.


So now you got a running agency you need an agent to run. Agents are small chunks of code that generally have a single purpose (much in the same way a class should). They generally listen on a queue and respond to each ACL (An ACL is a protobuf encoded message. See below for more details) it receives.

An example of a simple agent is:

class SimpleAgent < Smith::Agent

  def run

  def worker(payload, receiver)
    logger.debug { payload.inspect }

The run method is run once when the agent is started by the agency. You can add anything in here. In fact it server a similar purpose to the initialize method in a normal class. In this run method a receiver is being setup which creates a queue called my.queue and attaches a method to it (worker).

The method worker (this can be anything and you would almost certainly not something that means something to your agent and not worker!) gets called for every ACL received on that queue. This method simply logs the ACL.

There are two parameters to the method: payload and receiver — they can be called anything you like but I recommend you name like that. The payload is the ACL and receiver is a metadata object that allows you to perform more sophisticated operations such as replying to an ACL.

In a nutshell that is about it! Of course the above is (almost) the simplest agent you can possibly write (to make it simpler the subscribe method could call a block directly but you probably shouldn't do that).

Agent Communication Language (ACL)

ACLs are how agents communicate with each other and use Google's Protocol Buffers. This gives a typesafe way for agents to communicate.

A simple ACL is:

package ACL;
message Test {
  optional string content = 1;

You should read the Protocol Buffers Developer Guide to get a better understanding. Note smith2 uses version 2, it is unlikely to ever use version 3.


smithctl is used to control the agency and provide some useful functions (such as publishing ACLs to queues)

To display a full list of commands run

smithctl commands [--long]

The --long option will give a brief overview of the command's function.

Doing something useful

That's all very well but how do I actually start an agent!

So assuming the agency is running you run the following commands will get you going:

To start an agent:

smithctl start SimpleAgent

To publish a message to a queue:

smithctl push --type Smith::ACL::Test --message= '{"content":"foo"}' my.queue

To list all running agents:

smithctl list --long

To stop an agent by name (if you have multiple instances of the agent running this command will stop them all):

smithctl stop --name SimpleAgent

To stop an agent using it's UUID

smithctl stop <UUID>

To list all agents available:

smithctl agents


Smith2 is a complete rewrite of Smith. Smith worked; after a fashion, but there were lots of problems that made it hard to work with. So this rewrite aims to fix these issues. Properly.

While Smith2 in many ways works better than Smith there are still things that aren't implemented, not to mention all the new stuff that I want to put in.