OWL-POLAR: Semantic Policies for Agent Reasoning

  • Murat Şensoy
  • Timothy J. Norman
  • Wamberto W. Vasconcelos
  • Katia Sycara
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6496)


Policies are declarations of constraints on the behaviour of components within distributed systems, and are often used to capture norms within agent-based systems. A few machine-processable representations for policies have been proposed, but they tend to be either limited in the types of policies that can be expressed or limited by the complexity of associated reasoning mechanisms. In this paper, we argue for a language that sufficiently expresses the types of policies essential in practical systems, and which enables both policy-governed decision-making and policy analysis within the bounds of decidability. We then propose an OWL-based representation of policies that meets these criteria using and a reasoning mechanism that uses a novel combination of ontology consistency checking and query answering. In this way, agent-based systems can be developed that operate flexibly and effectively in policy-constrainted environments.


Policy Language Conjunctive Query Query Answering Semantic Query Agent Reasoning 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    Baader, F., Calvanese, D., McGuinness, D.L., Nardi, D., Patel-Schneider, P.F. (eds.): The Description Logic Handbook: Theory, Implementation and Applications. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2003)zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Beautement, A., Pym, D.: Structured systems economics for security management. In: Proceedings of the Ninth Workshop on the Economics of Information Security, Harvard, USA (June 2010)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Boella, G., Broersen, J., Torre, L.: Reasoning about constitutive norms, counts-as conditionals, institutions, deadlines and violations. In: Bui, T.D., Ho, T.V., Ha, Q.T. (eds.) PRIMA 2008. LNCS (LNAI), vol. 5357, pp. 86–97. Springer, Heidelberg (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Castelfranchi, C.: Modelling social action for AI agents. Artificial Intelligence 103, 157–182 (1998)CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Elhag, A., Breuker, J., Brouwer, P.: On the formal analysis of normative conflicts. Information & Communications Technology Law 9(3), 207–217 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    García-Camino, A., Rodríguez-Aguilar, J.A., Sierra, C., Vasconcelos, W.: Constraint rule-based programming of norms for electronic institutions. Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems 18(1), 186–217 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    W. O. W. Group. OWL 2 web ontology language: Document overview (October 2009),
  8. 8.
    Haase, P., Motik, B.: A mapping system for the integration of owl-dl ontologies. In: Proceedings of the First International Workshop on Interoperability of Heterogeneous Information Systems, IHIS 2005, pp. 9–16. ACM, New York (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hill, H.: A functional taxonomy of normative conflict. Law and Philosophy 6(2), 227–247 (1987)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kagal, L., Finin, T., Joshi, A.: A policy language for a pervasive computing environment. In: Proceedings of the 4th IEEE International Workshop on Policies for Distributed Systems and Networks, POLICY 2003, pp. 63–74 (2003)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kollingbaum, M.J., Norman, T.J.: Norm adoption and consistency in the NoA agent architecture. In: Dastani, M.M., Dix, J., El Fallah-Seghrouchni, A. (eds.) PROMAS 2003. LNCS (LNAI), vol. 3067, pp. 169–186. Springer, Heidelberg (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Lupu, E., Sloman, M.: Conflicts in policy-based distributed systems management. IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering 25(6), 852–869 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Motik, B.: Reasoning in Description Logics using Resolution and Deductive Databases. PhD thesis, Universitt Karlsruhe (TH), Karlsruhe, Germany (January 2006)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Patel, J., et al.: Agent-based virtual organisations for the grid. Int. Journal of Multi-Agent and Grid Systems 1(4), 237–249 (2005)CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Prud’hommeaux, E., Seaborne, A.: SPARQL Query Language for RDF. Technical report, W3C (2006),
  16. 16.
    Sartor, G.: Normative conflicts in legal reasoning. Artificial Intelligence and Law 1(2), 209–235 (1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Sirin, E., Parsia, B., Grau, B.C., Kalyanpur, A., Katz, Y.: Pellet: A practical OWL-DL reasoner. Web Semant. 5(2), 51–53 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Sloman, M., Lupu, E.: Policy specification for programmable networks. In: Covaci, S. (ed.) IWAN 1999. LNCS, vol. 1653, pp. 73–84. Springer, Heidelberg (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Smith, M.K., Welty, C., McGuinness, D.L.: OWL: Web ontology language guide (February 2004),
  20. 20.
    Ullman, J.D.: Information integration using logical views. Theoretical Computer Science 239(2), 189–210 (2000)MathSciNetCrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Uszok, A., Bradshaw, J.M., Lott, J., Breedy, M., Bunch, L., Feltovich, P., Johnson, M., Jung, H.: New developments in ontology-based policy management: Increasing the practicality and comprehensiveness of KAoS. In: Proceedings of the 2008 IEEE Workshop on Policies for Distributed Systems and Networks, POLICY 2008, pp. 145–152 (2008)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Vasconcelos, W.W., Kollingbaum, M.J., Norman, T.J.: Normative conflict resolution in multi-agent systems. Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems 19(2), 124–152 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Zhao, H., Lobo, J., Bellovin, S.M.: An algebra for integration and analysis of ponder2 policies. In: Proceedings of the 2008 IEEE Workshop on Policies for Distributed Systems and Networks, POLICY 2008, Washington, DC, USA, pp. 74–77. IEEE Computer Society, Los Alamitos (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Murat Şensoy
    • 1
  • Timothy J. Norman
    • 1
  • Wamberto W. Vasconcelos
    • 1
  • Katia Sycara
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Computing ScienceUniversity of AberdeenAberdeenUK
  2. 2.Robotics InstituteCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA

Personalised recommendations