Facoltà di scienze della comunicazione

Artificial institutions : a model of institutional reality for open multiagent systems

Fornara, Nicoletta ; Viganò, Francesco ; Verdicchio, Mario ; Colombetti, Marco

Software agents’ ability to interact within different open systems, designed by different groups, presupposes an agreement on an unambiguous definition of a set of concepts, used to describe the context of the interaction and the communication language the agents can use. Agents’ interactions ought to allow for reliable expectations on the possible evolution of the system; however, in open... More

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    Summary
    Software agents’ ability to interact within different open systems, designed by different groups, presupposes an agreement on an unambiguous definition of a set of concepts, used to describe the context of the interaction and the communication language the agents can use. Agents’ interactions ought to allow for reliable expectations on the possible evolution of the system; however, in open systems interacting agents may not conform to predefined specifications. A possible solution is to define interaction environments including a normative component, with suitable rules to regulate the behaviour of agents. To tackle this problem, we propose an application-independent model of artificial institutions that can be used to define open multiagent systems. With respect to other approaches to artificial (or electronic) institutions, which mainly focus on the definition of the normative component of open systems, our proposal has a wider scope, in that we model the social context of the interaction, define the semantics of an Agent Communication Language to operate on such a context, and give an operational definition of the norms that are necessary to constrain the agents’ actions. In particular, we define the semantics of a library of communicative acts in terms of operations on agents’ social reality, more specifically on commitments, and regard norms as event-driven rules that, when fired by events happening in the system, create or modify a set of commitments. An interesting aspect of our proposal is that both the definition of the ACL and the definition of norms are based on the same notion of commitment. Therefore an agent capable of reasoning on commitments can reason both on the semantics of communicative acts and on the normative system.