Tech Reports


Agent Deliberation in an Executable Temporal Framework

Michael Fisher


Autonomous agents are not so difficult to construct. Constructing autonomous agents that will work as required is much harder. A clear way in which we can design and analyze autonomous systems so that we can be more confident that their behaviour is as required is to use formal methods. These can, in principle, allow us to exactly specify the behaviour of the agent, and verify that any implementation has the properties required. In addition to using a more formal approach, it is clear that problems of conceptualization and analysis can be aided by the use of an appropriate abstraction.

In this article we tackle one particular aspect of formal methods for agent-based systems, namely the formal representation and implementation of deliberation within agents. The key aspect here is simplicity. Agents are specified using a relatively simple temporal logic and are executed by directly interpreting such temporal formulae. Deliberation is captured by modifying the way in which execution handles its temporal goals. Thus, in this article we provide motivations, theoretical underpinnings, implementation details, correctness arguments, and comparisons with related work.

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