Modelling Dimensions for Agent Organizations

Modelling Dimensions for Agent Organizations

Luciano R. Coutinho (University of São Paulo, Brazil), Jaime S. Sichman (University of São Paulo, Brazil) and Olivier Boissier (ENS Mines Saint-Etienne, France)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-256-5.ch002
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Abstract

In this chapter, we discuss the concepts of agent organization, organizational model, and review some existing organizational models. Before the review, we discuss how to classify the diverse aspects of agent organizations currently captured by organizational models. These aspects are named “modelling dimensions”. We show that there are at least four basic dimensions: the structural dimension mainly composed of roles and groups, the interactive dimension characterized by dialogical interaction structures, the functional dimension formed by goal/task decomposition, and the normative dimension in which we find the concepts of norms, rights, rules, and so forth. Apart from the basic dimensions, we also identify four other complementary dimensions: environment, evaluation, evolution, and ontology. These are related to the aspects of situatedeness, measurement, adaptation, and domain specific semantics of agent organizations. Finally, we compare the organizational models reviewed and describe how the idea of modelling dimension can help in finding correspondences between organizational models.
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Abstract

In this chapter, we discuss the concepts of agent organization, organizational model, and review some existing organizational models. Before the review, we discuss how to classify the diverse aspects of agent organizations currently captured by organizational models. These aspects are named “modelling dimensions”. We show that there are at least four basic dimensions: the structural dimension mainly composed of roles and groups, the interactive dimension characterized by dialogical interaction structures, the functional dimension formed by goal/task decomposition, and the normative dimension in which we find the concepts of norms, rights, rules, and so forth. Apart from the basic dimensions, we also identify four other complementary dimensions: environment, evaluation, evolution, and ontology. These are related to the aspects of situatedeness, measurement, adaptation, and domain specific semantics of agent organizations. Finally, we compare the organizational models reviewed and describe how the idea of modelling dimension can help in finding correspondences between organizational models.

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Introduction

In the last few years, a broad agreement in the area of Multi-Agent Systems (MASs) has been to consider the human organizations as a suitable metaphor to effectively assemble computational systems from a dynamic collection of heterogeneous autonomous agents (Ferber, Gutknecht & Michel, 2004; Zambonelli, Jennings & Wooldridge, 2003; Gasser, 2001). In such computational systems – often called “open MASs” –, the defining characteristics are both a variable number of autonomous agents at run-time (i.e., agents can enter and leave the system when it is in production), and the presence of agents with different interests and/or designs (i.e., agents representing different stakeholders, conceived by several designers, and/or built using different agent architectures). To cope with these characteristics, the organizational perspective proposes that the joint activity inside the MAS be explicitly regulated (moulded, constrained) by a consistent body of norms, plans, mechanisms and/or structures formally specified to achieve some definite global purpose. And this, in essence, is what “human organization” means when the autonomous agents are human beings – a dynamical collection of persons that accept to have their joint activity formally patterned and controlled, given some global goals (Scott, 1998). Inspired by the metaphor, in this chapter, we will use the term “agent organization” to denote an open MAS, or one of its sub-systems, that was designed and operates in a way similar to human organizations.

This broad agreement around agent organizations has led to the proposal of different organizational models for their engineering (incomplete list of proposals is: Ferber, Gutknecht & Michel, 2004; Lesser et al., 2004; Hübner, Sichman & Boissier, 2002; Esteva, Padget & Sierra, 2002; Dignum, 2004; Horling & Lesser, 2004; Tambe et al., 1999; Parunak & Odell, 2002; Silva, Choren & Lucena, 2004). An organizational model provides the designer with a conceptual framework and a syntax in which she can write organizational specifications for agent organizations. From an organizational specification, an agent organization can be implemented on a traditional agent platform or, more realistically, by using some organizational middleware or platform (Hübner, Sichman & Boissier, 2005; Esteva et al., 2004; Gutknecht & Ferber, 2000). In general, these organizational middleware or platforms take the organizational specifications as input, interpret them, and provide the agents with an organizational environment (agent organization) according to the specification. In order to enter, to work inside or to leave the agent organization, the agents are supposed to know how to access the services of the middleware/platform and to make requests according to the available organizational specification.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Organizational Norms: Also called “normative dimension”, it is composed of constructs to further regulate and show how organizational structure (time independent relations), organizational interaction (standardized functioning) and organizational functions are interrelated. The name “normative” is due to the fact that in the existing organizational model the concepts in this dimension are described in term of deontic norms (i.e., statements that regulate the behaviour of social entities: what they are allowed to do - direct or indirectly -, what they are obliged to do, etc.).

Modelling Dimension: A coherent class of modelling constructs found in a modelling language. The modelling dimensions are defined taking into account the main aspects in which a subject can be modelled. In the case of organizational models, we can identify four commonly occurring modelling dimensions: organizational structure, organizational interaction, organizational functions and organizational norms.

Organizational Functions: Also called “functional dimension”, it is a modelling dimension composed of constructs to represent global goals and goal decompositions (plans) to be accomplished by an agent organization.

Organizational Structure: Also called “structural dimension”, it is a modelling dimension that gathers constructs to represent what aspects of the structure of an agent organization have to be invariant through time. The main constructs found in it are roles, groups, and relationships between them.

Organizational Interaction: Also called “interactive dimension”, it is a modelling dimension that is formed by constructs to represent standardized actions and interactions involving the elements from the structural and functional dimensions. Some constructs found in this dimension are interaction protocols, scenes and scene structures.

Agent Organization: A Multi-Agent System (computational system), or one of its sub-systems, possibly open and which was designed and operates in a way similar to human organizations. Compared to human organizations, agent organizations are characterized by specific goals and formalized social structures.

Organizational Model: Modelling languages used to formally specify agent organizations. Organizational models provide a conceptualization of organizations for Muti-Agent Systems and a syntax to write specific models. In an abstract way, the syntax can be expressed by means of an organizational metamodel.

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Foreword
Liz Sonenberg
Preface
Virginia Dignum
Acknowledgment
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
$37.50
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
$37.50
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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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About the Contributors