Regular Paper

Knowledge and Information Systems

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 45-84

First online:

Strategies for contextual reasoning with conflicts in ambient intelligence

  • Antonis BikakisAffiliated withInstitute of Computer Science, FO.R.T.H. Email author 
  • , Grigoris AntoniouAffiliated withInstitute of Computer Science, FO.R.T.H.
  • , Panayiotis HasapisAffiliated withDepartment of Informatics, Athens University of Economics and Business

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Ambient Intelligence environments host various agents that collect, process, change and share the available context information. The imperfect nature of context, the open and dynamic nature of such environments and the special characteristics of ambient agents have introduced new research challenges in the study of Distributed Artificial Intelligence. This paper proposes a solution based on the Multi-Context Systems paradigm, according to which local knowledge of ambient agents is encoded in rule theories (contexts), and information flow between agents is achieved through mapping rules that associate concepts used by different contexts. To resolve potential inconsistencies that may arise from the interaction of contexts through their mappings (global conflicts), we use a preference ordering on the system contexts, which may express the confidence that an agent has in the knowledge imported by other agents. On top of this model, we have developed four alternative strategies for global conflicts resolution, which mainly differ in the type and extent of context and preference information that is used to resolve potential conflicts. The four strategies have been respectively implemented in four versions of a distributed algorithm for query evaluation and evaluated in a simulated P2P system.


Distributed reasoning Contextual reasoning Reasoning with preferences Ambient intelligence Multi-context systems