Date: 12 Jul 2002

A Model of Delegation for Multi-agent Systems

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Abstract

An agent may decide to delegate tasks to others. The act of delegating a task by one autonomous agent to another can be carried out by the performance of one or more imperative communication acts. In this paper, the semantics of imperatives are specified using a language of actions and states. It is further shown how the model can be used to distinguish between whole-hearted and mere extensional satisfaction of an imperative, and how this may be used to specify the semantics of imperatives in agent communication languages. The act of delegating a task from one agent to another can be carried out through the performance of one or more imperative communication acts. In this paper, the semantics of such imperatives are specified using a language of actions and states. The logical system that is developed then supports a notion of responsibility. An agent may not only be issued an imperative to directly carry out an event, or achieve some state, but also to be responsible for an event being carried out or state achieved - and these latter commitments might then be serviced through a subsequent act of delegation. The model thus clearly distinguishes between different classes of responsibility and different forms of delegation, and it is shown how this sound theoretical foundation can then be applied in specifying the semantics of imperatives in agent communication languages.