Contexts in Agent-Mediated Electronic Commerce

Chiara Ghidini and Luciano Serafini

In agent-mediated electronic commerce, agents need to exchange information with other agents and to integrate the obtained information with their own data. Integration is a very complex task as: information is distributed among different agents; each agent autonomously represents and manages its own information; information might be partial, as agent cannot wait to have complete information before acting; finally information is redundant, as the same information might be represented by two different agents. Our goal is to provide a formal semantics for information integration able to cope with distributed, autonomous, partial, and redundant information. Such a semantics is based on the intuition that agents’ databases can be thought as contexts, each context representing the partial view of an agent on the common world. In the paper we introduce an example from an electronic commerce scenario and we show that a context based semantics for information integration allows us to cope with some of the problems of information integration emphasized in the example.


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