A Minimal Dynamical MAS Organization Model

A Minimal Dynamical MAS Organization Model

Antônio Carlos da Rocha Costa (Universidade Católica de Pelotas, Brazil) and Graçaliz Pereira Dimuro (Universidade Católica de Pelotas, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-256-5.ch017
OnDemand PDF Download:


This chapter presents the Population-Organization model, a formal tool for studying the organization of open multi-agent systems and its functional and structural dynamics. The model is minimal in two senses: it comprises a minimal set of extensional concepts able of adequately accounting for the notion of dynamic organization; and, it is a core organization model upon which a certain kind of dynamical rules can be defined, to account for the action of intensional organizational elements like prestige, power, morality, and so forth. The chapter gives a detailed presentation of the core model, in a version adapted for describing organizations where interactions have a periodic character. We also illustrate how the model supports intensional organizational processes, by introducing a sample set of moral rules for agents playing roles in informal organizations.
Chapter Preview


This chapter focuses on the presentation of the Population-Organization (PopOrg) model, a formal model for the functional and structural dynamics of open multiagent systems (MAS). The PopOrg model was introduced in (Demazeau & Costa, 1996), and revised in (Costa & Dimuro, 2008) to incorporate the notion that organizational interactions are exchange processes.

The PopOrg model is based on several principles:

  • That a MAS is best described by separately specifying its organization structure and its population structure;

  • That the core part of an organization structure is its set of organizational roles, together with the set of organizational links that relate those roles;

  • That the core part of a population structure is its set of agents, together with the set of social exchanges that relate those agents;

  • That the population structure makes the organization structure work by implementing the organizational roles and links;

  • That the organization structure constrains the set of possible behaviors and interactions that the agents may have in the system;

  • That social links between agents are exchange processes, where agents exchange services and objects among each other;

  • That organizational links are exchange processes, where roles exchange services and objects among each other;

  • That the model should be minimal, in the sense that it should have the least set of concepts enabling an adequate description of the system, but that it should be adaptable and extensible, to contemplate special features needed in particular modelling applications;

  • That the model should be extensional, in the sense that it should contemplate essentially the objective aspects of the dynamics of multiagent systems (actions performed, objects exchanged, structural changes, etc.), and that any subjective, intensional aspect (prestige, power, morality, etc.) should be added a posteriori, through specially defined intension-driven organizational rules;

  • That the forms of the intension-driven organizational rules should not constrain the definition of the model’s minimal core.

The chapter has two main goals. The first one is to extend the PopOrg model to make it contemplate the periodicity inherent in most of the organizational behaviors and interactions that happen in MAS. Such periodicity is an enabling condition for an agent’s proper assessment of the quality of its insertion in the system, which is an indispensable capability for any autonomous agent when the system is open and structurally dynamic, that is, when the agent can freely decide on entering or leaving the system, and on conserving or changing the way it is inserted in it.

The second purpose of this chapter is to illustrate the way in which the model’s extensional approach allows for the description of how intensional organizational processes operate as causal elements that may impact the extensional structure of the system. In particular, the chapter illustrates how the operational notion of morality for MAS, introduced in (Costa & Dimuro, 2007), can be supported by the model as a set of intension-driven organizational rules.

The chapter is organized as follows. Next section introduces the background of the chapter. Then, we present the latest version of the PopOrg model, the one adapted to deal with organizations where organizational interactions have a periodic character. In the sequence, we illustrate how the intensional issue of morality in multiagent systems can be tackled with the help of intension-driven organizational rules. We conclude the chapter by pointing to future research directions.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Task Manager: Agent responsible for task allocation.

Goal: A goal is composed of a set of tasks that must be carried out in a given order.

Resource Manager: Agent responsible for resource allocation.

Schedule: A set of tasks that may be executed in parallel or sequentially.

Marketable Agents: Agents that may be temporarily re-assigned to another organization.

Permanent Agents: Agents that are permanently assigned to an organization.

TRACE: Task and resource allocation in a computational economy.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Liz Sonenberg
Virginia Dignum
Virginia Dignum
Chapter 1
Virgina Dignum
Agent Organization can be understood from two perspectives: organization as a process and organization as an entity. That is, organization is... Sample PDF
The Role of Organization in Agent Systems
Chapter 2
Luciano R. Coutinho, Jaime S. Sichman, Olivier Boissier
In this chapter, we discuss the concepts of agent organization, organizational model, and review some existing organizational models. Before the... Sample PDF
Modelling Dimensions for Agent Organizations
Chapter 3
Jacques Ferber, Tiberiu Stratulat, John Tranier
In this chapter, we stress the importance of thinking a MAS in all its aspects (agents, environment, interactions, organizations, and institutions)... Sample PDF
Towards an Integral Approach of Organizations in Multi-Agent Systems
Chapter 4
Scott A. DeLoach
This chapter introduces a suite of technologies for building complex, adaptive systems. It is based in the multi-agent systems paradigm and uses the... Sample PDF
OMACS: A Framework for Adaptive, Complex Systems
Chapter 5
Christopher Cheong, Michael Winikoff
Although intelligent agents individually exhibit a number of characteristics, including social ability, flexibility, and robustness, which make them... Sample PDF
Hermes: Designing Flexible and Robust Agent Interactions
Chapter 6
Viara Popova, Alexei Sharpanskykh
This chapter introduces a formal framework for modeling and analysis of organizations. It allows representing and reasoning about all important... Sample PDF
A Formal Framework for Organization Modeling and Analysis
Chapter 7
Maksim Tsvetovat
Agent-based approaches provide an invaluable tool for building decentralized, distributed architectures and tying together sets of disparate... Sample PDF
Describing Agent Societies: A Declarative Semantics
Chapter 8
Davide Grossi, Frank Dignum
In this chapter we investigate how organizations can be represented as graphs endowed with formal semantics. We distinguish different dimensions of... Sample PDF
Structural Aspects of Organizations
Chapter 9
Virgina Dignum, Frank Dignum
Organization concepts and models are increasingly being adopted for the design and specification of multi-agent systems. Agent organizations can be... Sample PDF
A Logic for Agent Organizations
Chapter 10
Cristiano Castelfranchi
This chapter presents organizations as a macro-micro notion and device; they presuppose autonomous proactive entities (agents) playing the... Sample PDF
Grounding Organizations in the Minds of the Agents
Chapter 11
Paolo Torroni, Pinar Yolum, Munindar P. Singh, Marco Alberti, Federico Chesani, Marco Gavanelli, Evelina Lamma, Paola Mello
Organizational models often rely on two assumptions: openness and heterogeneity. This is, for instance, the case with organizations consisting of... Sample PDF
Modelling Interactions via Commitments and Expectations
Chapter 12
Gita Sukthankar, Katia Sycara, Joseph A. Giampapa, Christopher Burnett
This chapter discusses the problem of agent aiding of ad-hoc, decentralized human teams so as to improve team performance on time-stressed group... Sample PDF
Communications for Agent-Based Human Team Support
Chapter 13
Bob van der Vecht, Frank Dignum, John-Jules Ch. Meyer
This chapter discusses how autonomous agents can adopt organizational rules into their reasoning process. Agents in an organization need to... Sample PDF
Autonomous Agents Adopting Organizational Rules
Chapter 14
Nicoletta Fornara, Marco Colombetti
The specification of open interaction systems is widely recognized to be a crucial issue, which involves the problem of finding a standard way of... Sample PDF
Specifying Artificial Institutions in the Event Calculus
Chapter 15
Francesco Viganò, Marco Colombetti
Institutions have been proposed to explicitly represent norms in open multi-agent systems, where agents may not follow them and which therefore... Sample PDF
Verifying Organizations Regulated by Institutions
Chapter 16
Mehdi Dastani, Nick A.M. Tinnemeier, John-Jules Ch. Meyer
Multi-agent systems are viewed as consisting of individual agents whose behaviors are regulated by an organizational artifact. This chapter presents... Sample PDF
A Programming Language for Normative Multi-Agent Systems
Chapter 17
Antônio Carlos da Rocha Costa, Graçaliz Pereira Dimuro
This chapter presents the Population-Organization model, a formal tool for studying the organization of open multi-agent systems and its functional... Sample PDF
A Minimal Dynamical MAS Organization Model
Chapter 18
Shaheen Fatima, Michael Wooldridge
This chapter presents an adaptive organizational policy for multi-agent systems called TRACE. TRACE allows a collection of multi-agent organizations... Sample PDF
A Framework for Dynamic Agent Organizations
Chapter 19
Alexander Artikis, Dimosthenis Kaponis, Jeremy Pitt
We have been developing a framework for executable specification of norm-governed multi-agent systems. In this framework, specification is a... Sample PDF
Dynamic Specifications for Norm-Governed Systems
Chapter 20
Marco Lamieri, Diana Mangalagiu
In this chapter we present a model of organization aimed to understand the effect of formal and informal structures on the organization’s... Sample PDF
Interactions Between Formal and Informal Organizational Networks
Chapter 21
Steven Okamoto, Katia Sycara, Paul Scerri
Intelligent software personal assistants are an active research area with the potential to revolutionize the way that human organizations operate... Sample PDF
Personal Assistants for Human Organizations
Chapter 22
Sachin Kamboj, Keith S. Decker
This chapter presents an approach to organizational-self design (OSD), a method of designing organizations at run-time in which the agents are... Sample PDF
Organizational Self-Design in Worth-Oriented Domains
Chapter 23
Olivier Bonnet-Torrès, Catherine Tessier
This chapter focuses on a Petri Net-based model for team organization and monitoring. The applications considered are missions performed by several... Sample PDF
A Formal Petri Net Based Model for Team Monitoring
About the Contributors