It is generally accepted that the environment is an essential compound of multiagent systems (MASs). Yet the environment is typically assigned limited responsibilities, or even neglected entirely, overlooking a rich potential for the paradigm of MASs.
Opportunities that environments offer, have mostly been researched in the domain of situated MASs. However, the complex principles behind the concepts and responsibilities of the environment and the interplay between agents and environment are not yet fully clarified.
In this paper, we first give an overview of the state-of-the-art on environments in MASs. The survey discusses relevant research tracks on environments that have been explored so far. Each track is illustrated with a number of representative contributions by the research community. Based on this study and the results of our own research, we identify a set of core concerns for environments that can be divided in two classes: concerns related to the structure of the environment, and concerns related to the activity in the environment. To conclude, we list a number of research challenges that, in our opinion, are important for further research on environments for MAS.