Modelling Agent Institutions

  • Nicoletta Fornara
  • Henrique Lopes Cardoso
  • Pablo Noriega
  • Eugénio Oliveira
  • Charalampos Tampitsikas
  • Michael I. Schumacher
Part of the Law, Governance and Technology Series book series (LGTS, volume 8)


Everyday uses of the notion of institution and some typical institutions have been studied and formalized by economists and philosophers. Borrowing from these everyday understandings, and influenced by their formalizations, the notion of institution has been used within the agents community to model and implement a variety of socio-technical systems. Their main purpose is to enable and regulate the interaction among autonomous agents in order to achieve some collective endeavour. In this chapter we present and compare three frameworks for agent-based institutions (i) ANTE, a model that considers electronic institutions as computational realizations of adaptive artificial environments for governing multi-agent interactions; (ii) OCeAN, extended in MANET, a model for specifying Artificial Institutions (AIs), situated in agent environments, which can be used in the design and implementation of different open interaction systems; and (iii) a conceptual core model for Electronic Institutions (EIs), extended with EIDE, based on open, social, decomposable and dialogical interactions. Open challenges in the specifications and use of institutions for the realization of real open interaction systems are discussed.


Institutional Fact Institutional Action Normative Environment Agent Institution Electronic Institution 
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.



This work was partially supported by the Hasler Foundation project n. 11115-KG, by the Swiss State Secretariat for Education and Research projects n. C08.0114 and “Open Interaction Frameworks, towards a Governing Environment”, the Portuguese Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) under project PTDC/EIA-EIA/104420/2008, the Consolider AT project CSD2007-0022 INGENIO 2010 of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, as well as the Generalitat de Catalunya grant 2009-SGR-1434.


  1. .
    Aldewereld, H., and V. Dignum. 2010. Operetta: Organization-oriented development environment. In LADS, Lecture notes in computer science, vol. 6822, ed. M. Dastani, A.E. Fallah-Seghrouchni, J. Hübner, and J. Leite, 1–18. Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
  2. .
    Aoki, M. 2001. Toward a comparative institutional analysis. Cambridge: MIT.Google Scholar
  3. .
    Arcos, J.L., M. Esteva, P. Noriega, J.A. Rodríguez-Aguilar, and C. Sierra. 2005. Engineering open environments with electronic institutions. Engineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence 18(2): 191–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. .
    Arcos, J.L., P. Noriega, J.A. Rodriguez-Aguilar, and C. Sierra. 2007. E4mas through electronic institutions. In Environments for multi-agent systems III, Lecture notes in computer science, vol. 4389, ed. D. Weyns, H. Parunak and F. Michel, 184–202. Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
  5. .
    Artikis, A., M. Sergot, and J. Pitt. 2009. Specifying norm-governed computational societies. ACM Transactions on Computational Logic 10(1): 1:1–1:42.Google Scholar
  6. .
    Boella, G., L. van der Torre, and H. Verhagen. 2008. Introduction to the special issue on normative multiagent systems. Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems 17(1): 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. .
    Boella, G., G. Pigozzi, and L. van der Torre. 2009. Five guidelines for normative multiagent systems. In Legal knowledge and information systems: JURIX 2009, ed. G. Governatore, 21–30. Amsterdam: IOS.Google Scholar
  8. .
    Bou, E., M. Lopez-Sanchez, and J.A. Rodriguez-Aguilar. 2007. Adaptation of autonomic electronic institutions through norms and institutional agents. In Engineering societies in the agents world VII, Lecture notes in computer science, vol. 4457, ed. G. O’Hare, A. Ricci, M. O’Grady and O. Dikenelli, 300–319. Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
  9. .
    Brito, I., I. Pinyol, D. Villatoro, and J. Sabater-Mir. 2009. HIHEREI: Human interaction within hybrid environments. In Proceedings of the 8th international conference on autonomous agents and multiagent systems (AAMAS ’09), Budapest, 1417–1418.Google Scholar
  10. .
    Bromuri, S., and K. Stathis. 2009. Distributed agent environments in the ambient event calculus. In Proceedings of the third ACM international conference on distributed event-based systems, DEBS ’09, 12:1–12:12. New York: ACM.Google Scholar
  11. .
    Campos, J., M. Lopez-Sanchez, and M. Esteva. 2010. A case-based reasoning approach for norm adaptation. In Proceedings of the 5th international conference on hybrid artificial intelligence systems (HAIS’10), San Sebastian, 23 June 2010, vol. 6077, ed. A.S.E. Corchado and M. Graña-Romay, 168–176. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  12. .
    Chopra, A., and M. Singh. 2004. Nonmonotonic commitment machines. In Advances in agent communication, Lecture notes in computer science, vol. 2922, ed. F. Dignum, 1959–1959. Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
  13. .
    Cliffe, O., M. De Vos, and J. Padget. 2007. Specifying and reasoning about multiple institutions. In Coordination, organization, institutions and norms in agent systems II – AAMAS 2006 and ECAI 2006 international workshops, COIN 2006, Hakodate, Japan, May 9, 2006 Riva del Garda, Italy, August 28, 2006, Lecture notes in computer science, vol. 4386, ed. P. Noriega, J. Vázquez-Salceda, G. Boella, O. Boissier, V. Dignum, N. Fornara and E. Matson, 67–85. Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
  14. .
    Colombetti, M. 2000. A commitment-based approach to agent speech acts and conversations. In Proceedings of the fourth international conference on autonomous agents, workshop on agent languages and conversation policies, eds. M. Greaves, F. Dignum, J. Bradshaw, and B. Chaib-draa, 21–29. Barcelona: Spain.Google Scholar
  15. .
    Corapi, D., M. De Vos, J. Padget, A. Russo, and K. Satoh. 2011. Normative design using inductive learning. Theory and Practice of Logic Programming 11: 783–799.MathSciNetzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. .
    Craswell, R. 2000. Contract law: General theories. In Encyclopedia of law and economics, The regulation of contracts, vol. III, ed. B. Bouckaert and G. De Geest, 1–24. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  17. .
    Dignum, V. 2004. A model for organizational interaction: Based on agents, founded in logic. Ph.D. thesis, University Utrecht.Google Scholar
  18. .
    Dignum, V., J. Vázquez-Salceda, and F. Dignum. 2004. OMNI: Introducing social structure, norms and ontologies into agent organizations. In Programming multi-agent systems, second international workshop ProMAS 2004, New York, NY, USA, July 20, 2004, Selected Revised and Invited Papers. Lecture notes in computer science, vol. 3346, ed. R.H. Bordini, et al., 181–198. Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
  19. .
    d’Inverno, M., M. Luck, P. Noriega, J.A. Rodriguez-Aguilar, and C. Sierra. 2012. Communicating open systems. Artificial Intelligence 186(0): 38–94.Google Scholar
  20. .
    Esteva, M. 2003. Electronic institutions: From specification to development. Ph.D. thesis, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), 2003. Number 19 in IIIA Monograph Series. IIIA.Google Scholar
  21. .
    Esteva, M., D. de la Cruz, and C. Sierra. 2002. ISLANDER: An electronic institutions editor. In Proceedings of the first international joint conference on autonomous agents and multiagent systems (AAMAS ’02), 1045–1052. New York: ACM.Google Scholar
  22. .
    Esteva, M., J.A. Rodriguez-Aguilar, B. Rosell, and J.L. Arcos. 2004. AMELI: An agent-based middleware for electronic institutions. In Proceedings of the 3rd international joint conference on autonomous agents and multi-agent systems (AAMAS ’04), July 19–23 2004, vol. 1, ed. C. Sierra and L. Sonenberg, 236–246, IFAAMAS. New York: ACM.Google Scholar
  23. .
    Esteva, M., J.A. Rodriguez-Aguilar, J.L. Arcos, C. Sierra, P. Noriega, and B. Rosell. 2008. Electronic institutions development environment. In Proceedings of the 7th international joint conference on autonomous agents and multiagent systems (AAMAS ’08), Estoril, 12/05/2008, 1657–1658. Richland: International Foundation for Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems/ACM.Google Scholar
  24. .
    Esteva, M., J.A. Rodriguez-Aguilar, J.L. Arcos, and C. Sierra. 2011. Socially-aware lightweight coordination infrastructures. In Proceedings of the AAMAS’11 12th international workshop on agent-oriented software engineering, May 2-6, 2011, 117–128. Taipei: Taiwan.Google Scholar
  25. .
    Fornara, N. 2011. Specifying and monitoring obligations in open multiagent systems using semantic web technology. In Semantic agent systems: Foundations and applications, Studies in computational intelligence, vol. 344, ed. A. Elçi, M.T. Kone and M.A. Orgun, 25–46. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  26. .
    Fornara, N., and M. Colombetti. 2002. Operational specification of a commitment-based agent communication language. In Proceedings of the first international joint conference on autonomous agents & multiagent systems, AAMAS 2002, July 15–19, 2002, Bologna, 536–542. New York: ACM.Google Scholar
  27. .
    Fornara, N., and M. Colombetti. 2009. Specifying artificial institutions in the event calculus. In Handbook of research on multi-agent systems: semantics and dynamics of organizational models, ed. V. Dignum, 335–366. Hershey: Information Science Reference/IGI Global.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. .
    Fornara, N., and M. Colombetti. 2010. Representation and monitoring of commitments and norms using OWL. AI Communications - European Workshop on Multi-Agent Systems (EUMAS) 2009 23(4): 341–356.Google Scholar
  29. .
    Fornara, N., F. Viganò, and M. Colombetti. 2007. Agent communication and artificial institutions. Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems 14(2): 121–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. .
    Fornara, N., F. Viganò, M. Verdicchio, and M. Colombetti. 2008. Artificial institutions: A model of institutional reality for open multiagent systems. Artificial Intelligence and Law 16(1): 89–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. .
    Fornara, N., D. Okouya, and M. Colombetti. 2012. Using OWL 2 DL for expressing ACL content and semantics. In EUMAS 2011 selected and revised papers, LNAI, vol. 7541, ed. M. Cossentino, M. Kaisers, K. Tuyls, and G. Weiss. 97–113. Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
  32. .
    Gaertner, D., A. Garcia-Camino, P. Noriega, J. A. Rodriguez-Aguilar, and W.W. Vasconcelos. 2007. Distributed norm management in regulated multi-agent systems. In Proceedings of the 6th international joint conference on autonomous agents and multiagent systems (AAMAS ’07), Honolulu, 624–631, 14/05/07. New York: ACM.Google Scholar
  33. .
    Garcia-Camino, A., P. Noriega, and J.A. Rodriguez-Aguilar. 2005. Implementing norms in electronic institutions. In Proceedings of the 4th international joint conference on autonomous agents and multiagent systems (AAMAS ’05), Utrecht, 667–673. New York: ACM.Google Scholar
  34. .
    Jones, A.J.I., and M.J. Sergot. 1996. A formal characterisation of institutionalised power. Logic Journal of the IGPL 4(3): 427–443.MathSciNetzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. .
    Kaplow, L. 2000. General characteristics of rules. In Encyclopedia of law and economics, The economics of crime and litigation, vol. V, ed. B. Bouckaert and G. De Geest, 502–528. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  36. .
    Kowalski, R.A. and M.J. Sergot. 1986. A logic-based calculus of events. New Generation Computing 4(1): 67–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. .
    Lopes Cardoso, H. 2010. Electronic institutions with normative environments for agent-based E-contracting. Ph.D. thesis, Universidade do Porto.Google Scholar
  38. .
    Lopes Cardoso, H., and E. Oliveira. 2008. Norm defeasibility in an institutional normative framework. In Proceedings of the 18th European conference on artificial intelligence (ECAI 2008), Patras, ed. M. Ghallab, C. Spyropoulos, N. Fakotakis and N. Avouris, 468–472. Amsterdam: IOS.Google Scholar
  39. .
    Lopes Cardoso, H. and E. Oliveira. 2009. A context-based institutional normative environment. In Coordination, organizations, institutions, and norms in agent systems IV, LNAI, vol. 5428, ed. J. Hubner, E. Matson, O. Boissier and V. Dignum, 140–155. Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
  40. .
    Lopes Cardoso, H., and E. Oliveira. 2011. Social control in a normative framework: An adaptive deterrence approach. Web Intelligence and Agent Systems 9: 363–375.Google Scholar
  41. .
    Lopes Cardoso, H., J. Urbano, A. Rocha, A. Castro, and E. Oliveira. 2012. ANTE: Agreement negotiation in normative and trust-enabled environments.  Chapter 32, in this volume, 549–564. Springer.
  42. .
    Mueller, E.T. 2006. Commonsense reasoning. San Francisco: Morgan Kaufmann.Google Scholar
  43. .
    Noriega, P. 1999. Agent-mediated auctions: The fishmarket metaphor. Ph.D. thesis Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 1997. Number 8 in IIIA monograph series. IIIA.Google Scholar
  44. .
    North, D.C. 1990. Institutions, institutional change, and economic performance. Cambridge: Cambridge University.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. .
    Object Management Group. 2005. UML 2.0 OCL specification.
  46. .
    Ostrom, E. 1986. An agenda for the study of institutions. Public Choice 48(1): 3–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. .
    Ostrom, E. 2010. Institutional analysis and development: Elements of the framework in historical perspective. In Historical developments and theoretical approaches in sociology in encyclopedia of life support systems(EOLSS), developed under the auspices of the UNESCO, ed. C. Crothers. Oxford: Eolss Publishers.Google Scholar
  48. .
    Pitt, J., J. Schaumeier, and A. Artikis. 2011. Coordination, conventions and the self-organisation of sustainable institutions. In Proceedings of the 14th international conference on agents in principle, agents in practice, PRIMA’11, 202–217. Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
  49. .
    Powell, W.W. and P.J. Dimaggio. 1991. The new intitutionalism in organizational analyisis. Chicago: University of Chicago.Google Scholar
  50. .
    Rodriguez-Aguilar, J.A. 2003. On the design and construction of agent-mediated electronic institutions, Ph.D. thesis, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 2001. Number 14 in IIIA monograph series. IIIA.Google Scholar
  51. .
    Searle, J.R. 1995. The construction of social reality. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  52. .
    Simon, H.A. 1996. The sciences of the artificial, 3rd edn. Cambridge: MIT.Google Scholar
  53. .
    Spivey, J.M. 1988. Understanding Z: A specification language and its formal semantics. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University.zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  54. .
    Tampitsikas, C., S. Bromuri, N. Fornara, and M.I. Schumacher. 2012. Interdependent artificial institutions in agent environments. Applied Artificial Intelligence 26(4): 398–427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. .
    Vasconcelos, W., A. García-Camino, D. Gaertner, J.A. Rodríguez-Aguilar, and P. Noriega. 2012. Distributed norm management for multi-agent systems. Expert Systems with Applications 39: 5990–5999.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. .
    Vázquez-Salceda, J. 2003. The role of norms and electronic institutions in multi-agent systems applied to complex domains. The HARMONIA framework. Ph.D. thesis, Universidad Politecnica de Catalunya.Google Scholar
  57. .
    Weyns, D., A. Omicini, and J. Odell. 2007. Environment as a first class abstraction in multiagent systems. Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems 14(1): 5–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicoletta Fornara
    • 1
  • Henrique Lopes Cardoso
    • 2
  • Pablo Noriega
    • 3
  • Eugénio Oliveira
    • 2
  • Charalampos Tampitsikas
    • 1
    • 4
  • Michael I. Schumacher
    • 4
  1. 1.Università della Svizzera italianaLuganoSwitzerland
  2. 2.LIACC/Departamento de Engenharia Informática, Faculdade de EngenhariaUniversidade do PortoPortoPortugal
  3. 3.IIIA – CSICBarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.University of Applied Sciences Western SwitzerlandSierreSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations