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An individualistic approach to social action in multi-agent systems

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In this paper, we propose an individualistic formal model of coordination and social action in Multi-Agent Systems (MAS). In the first stage, the agents recognize potential for cooperation by reasoning about how they depend on each other. In the second phase, the agents negotiate directly: Following 'social' strategies, the agents propose, accept or refuse different offers until they reach a 'fair' agreement. The process itself is seen as an exchange of commissive speech acts, through which the agents adopt social commitments. Finally, joint commitments and societies are defined in individual terms. Joint plans are seen as deals and team activity as a special case of social activity. Moreover, agents are allowed to relax their initial goals and negotiate over compatible subgoals. They will cooperate as long as they have common interests. This approach improves previous models of coordination in three ways: (a) it is simpler, because team and plan formation are considered in the same stage; (b) it is clearer, because there are not representational gaps along the coordination process; (c) it is more comprehensive, because it is applicable to MAS in general, not only to Cooperative Problem Solving (CPS).
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Keywords: COOPERATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING; MULTI-AGENT SYSTEMS; TASK DISTRIBUTION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 1999

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