Agents that Work in Harmony by Knowing and Fulfilling their Obligations

Mihai Barbuceanu

Societies constrain the behavior of agents by imposing multiple, often contradictory, obligations and interdictions amongst them. To work in harmony, agents must find ways to satisfy these constraints, or to break less important ones when necessary. In this paper, we present a solution to this problem based on a representation of obligations and interdictions in an organizational framework, together with an inference method that also decides which obligations to break in contradictory situations. These are integrated in an operational, practically useful agent development language that covers the spectrum from defining organizations, roles, agents, obligations, goals, conversations to inferring and executing coordinated agent behaviors in multi-agent applications. One strength of the approach is the way it supports negotiation by exchanging deontic constraints amongst agents. We illustrate this and the entire system with a negotiated solution to the feature interaction problem in the telecommunications industry.

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