Toward a Semantics for an Agent Communications Language Based on Speech-Acts

Ira A. Smith, Philip R. Cohen

Systems based on distributed agent architectures require an agent communications language having a clearly defined semantics. This paper demonstrates that a semantics for an agent communications language can be founded on the premise that agents are building, maintaining, and disbanding teams through their performance of communicative acts. This view requires that definitions of basic communicative acts, such as requesting, be recast in terms of the formation of a joint intention - a mental state that has been suggested underlies team behavior. To illustrate these points, a semantics is developed for a number of communication actions that can form and dissolve teams. It is then demonstrated how much of the structure of popular finite-state dialogue models, such as Winograd and Flores’ basic conversation for action, follows as a consequence of the logical relationships that are created by the redefined communicative actions.


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