Tech Reports


Annotation and Matching of Recursive and Iterative First-Class Agent Interaction Protocols

Tim Miller and Peter McBurney


Many practitioners view agent interaction protocols as rigid specifications that are defined a priori, and hard-code their agents with a set of protocols known at design time - an unnecessary restriction for intelligent and adaptive agents. To achieve the full potential of multi-agent systems, we believe that it is important that multi-agent interaction protocols are treated as first-class computational entities in systems. That is, they exist at runtime in systems as entities that can be referenced, inspected, composed, invoked and shared, rather than as abstractions that emerge from the behaviour of the participants. Using first-class protocols, a goal-directed agent can assess a library of protocols at runtime to determine which protocols best achieve a particular goal. In previous work, we have presented a method that allows agents to summarise a protocol that it has just learned by calculating the outcomes achieved by the protocol, and annotating the protocol with these summaries. In addition, we presented a method to match, via annotations, which protocols in a library achieve a given goal. In this paper, we extend the previous work by considering iterative and recursive protocols. We also provide a clearer and more efficient method for matching protocols.

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