Tech Reports


Posit Spaces: A Performative Model of e-Commerce

Peter McBurney and Simon Parsons


What distinguishes e-commerce from ordinary commerce? What distinguishes it from distributed computation? In this paper we propose a performative theory of e-commerce, drawing on speech act theory, in which e-commerce exchanges are promises of future commercial actions, whose real-world meanings are constructed jointly and incrementally. We then define a computational model for this theory, called Posit Spaces, along with the syntax and semantics for an agent interaction protocol, the Posit Spaces Protocol, or PSP. This protocol enables participants in a multi-agent commercial interaction to propose, accept, modify and revoke joint commitments. Our work integrates three strands of prior research: the theory of Tuple Spaces in distributed computation; formal dialogue games from argumentation theory; and the study of commitments in multi-agent systems. Keywords: Agent Communications Languages, Commitments, e-Commerce, Dialogue Games, Negotiation, Performatives, Speech Act Theory, Tuple Spaces.

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