The multi-agent system (MAS) paradigm has become a prominent approach in distributed artificial intelligence. Many real-world applications of MAS require ensuring cooperative outcomes in scenarios populated with self-interested agents. Following this concern, a strong research emphasis has been given recently to normative MAS. A major application area of MAS technology is e-business automation, including the establishment and operation of business relationships and the formation of virtual organizations (VOs). One of the key factors influencing the adoption of agent-based approaches in real-world business scenarios is trust. The concept of an electronic institution (EI) has been proposed as a means to provide a regulated and trustable environment, by enforcing norms of behavior and by providing specific services for smooth inter-operability. This chapter exposes our work towards the development of an agent-based EI providing a virtual normative environment that assists and regulates the creation and operation of VOs through contract-related services. It includes a presentation of the EI framework, knowledge representation structures for norms in contracts, and a description of two main institutional services, namely negotiation mediation and contract monitoring.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Multi-Agent System: A system where multiple agents interact.
Normative Multi-Agent System: A set of interacting agents whose behavior can be regarded as governed by norms.
Norm: A prescription of behavior.
Electronic Institution: A software platform providing a set of contract-related services for agent interaction and a normative environment for enforcing contracts.
Role: A set of normative expectations and empowerments.
Agent: A goal-directed entity capable of interacting with the surrounding environment in an autonomous fashion; a software program representing an individual business entity.
Virtual Organization: A consortium of organizations (enterprises) that align their businesses to perform integrated and more complex activities.
Contract: An explicit formulation of agents’ commitments.
Cooperation Agreement: A contract with an ongoing nature, regulating a virtual organization relationship that exists for a period of time.
Complete Chapter List
P. Collet, J. Rennard
I. Naveh, R. Sun
J. Barr, F. Saraceno
H. Kwasnicka, W. Kwasnicki
A. Berro, I. leroux
N. J. Saam, W. Kerber
A. Brabazon, A. Silva, T. F.S. Sousa, R. Matthews, M. O’Neill
G. D.M. Serugendo
K. Taveter, G. Wagner
L. Shan, R. Shen, J. Wang
M. Klein, P. Faratin, H. Sayama
A. Mochon, Y. Saez
R. Marks, D. Midgley, L. Cooper
T. Erez, S. Moldovan, Soloman
M. Ciprian, M. Kaucic
S. Lavigne, S. Sanchez