A Performative Type Hierarchy and Other Interesting Considerations in the Design of the CASA Agent Architecture

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Abstract

In this paper, we describe several interesting design decisions we have taken (with respect to inter- agent messaging) in the re-engineered CASA architecture for agent communication and services. CASA is a new architecture designed from the ground up; it is influenced by the major agent architectures such as FIPA, CORBA, and KQML but is intended to be independent (which doesn’t imply incompatible). The primary goals are flexibility, extendibility, simplicity, and ease of use. The lessons learned in the earlier implementation have fed the current design of the system. Among the most interesting of the design issues are the use of performatives that form a type lattice, which allows for observers, who do not necessarily understand all the performatives, to nonetheless understand a conversation at an appropriate semantic level. The new design considerations add a great deal of flexibility and integrity to an agent communications architecture.