Formal Aspects of Computing

, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 227–249 | Cite as

Refining autonomous agents with declarative beliefs and desires

Original Article


An autonomous agent is one that is not only directed by its environment, but is also driven by internal motivation to achieve certain goals based on beliefs about the environmental behaviour. Design paradigms for autonomous agents such as belief-desire-intention take into account the agent’s “mental” features when presenting its patterns of behaviour. In this paper we present an approach to modelling autonomous agents by introducing mental features to conventional transition system specifications. Mental features such as belief and desire are represented by declarative linear temporal logic formulas. Refinement is then proposed to define the correctness of the agent design and development. It turns out, however, that the introduction of these mental features is not monotonic with respect to refinement. We therefore introduce additional refinement proof obligations to enable the use of simulation rules when checking refinement.


Refinement Autonomous agents Belief and desire Object-Z Temporal logic 


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Copyright information

© British Computer Society 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Shanghai Key Laboratory of Trustworthy ComputingEast China Normal UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.School of Information Technology and Electrical EngineeringThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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