Tech Reports


Executable Logic for Reasoning and Annotation of First-Class Interaction Protocols

Tim Miller and Peter McBurney


Interaction protocols are seen a promising approach to coordination in multi-agent systems. However, many practitioners view agent interaction protocols as rigid specifications that are defined a priori, and hard-coded their agents with a set of protocols known at design time - a restriction that is out of place with the goals of agents being intelligent and adaptive. To achieve the full potential of multi-agent systems, we believe that it is important that multi-agent interaction protocols are treated first-class computational entities in systems. That is, they exist at runtime in systems as entities that can be referenced, inspected, composed, and shared, rather than as abstractions that emerge from the behaviour of the participants. We use the term first-class protocol to refer to such protocols. We propose a framework called RASA, which regards protocols as first-class entities. Rather than having hard-coded decision making mechanisms for choosing their next move, agents can inspect the protocol specification at runtime to do so. In this paper, we present a logic; that is, a syntax, semantics, and proof system, that is part of the RASA framework, which is used to document the outcomes of first-class protocols, so that agents can maintain a library of protocols, each annotated with their meaning, and can quickly and correctly assess which protocol best achieves their goals.

[Full Paper]