22.03.15 - 27.03.15, Seminar 15131

Normative Multi-Agent Systems

Diese Seminarbeschreibung wurde vor dem Seminar auf unseren Webseiten veröffentlicht und bei der Einladung zum Seminar verwendet.


Normative systems are systems in the behavior of which norms play a role and which need normative concepts in order to be described or specified. A normative multi-agent system combines models for normative systems (dealing for example with obligations, permissions and prohibitions) with models for multi-agent systems. They provide a promising model for human and artificial agent coordination because they integrate norms and individual intelligence. They are a prime example of the use of sociological theories in multi-agent systems, and therefore of the relation between agent theory -- both multi-agent systems and autonomous agents -- and the social sciences -- sociology, philosophy, economics, legal science, etc. The seventh NorMAS seminar will feature challenging themes in broader computing and software engineering, namely social computing, governance, and agreement technologies. These themes are highly interdisciplinary, bringing together research strands from computing, information sciences, economics, sociology, and psychology. Further there is considerable excitement about these areas in academia, industry, and public policy organizations.

Social computing, as it is widely recognized today has its origins in Web 2.0 applications and had led to considerable government and industry push in Big Data. What is still lacking is a deeper conceptual understanding of the structure of social computing as it relates to multiple individuals and organizations. Also, the pragmatic aspects of information in social computing, such as social meaning, ownership, flow, and use, have received little systematic attention in social computing research so far. Norms explain both the social structure and the meaning of information, and therefore, have the potential to serve as a broad foundation for social computing.

Governance has come to the fore in discussions on public policy in the wake of disasters as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe. It refers to the administration of a socio-technical system (such as smart cities, smart grids, healthcare) by its stakeholders. Unlike technical kinds of administration, the administration of a socio-technical system has as its target the social expectations that stakeholders in the system would have of each other. This includes the elicitation of the social expectations, specifying systems in line with those expectations, monitoring their satisfaction and violation, and evolving the system to take into account potentially revised expectations.

Agreement technologies refer to computer systems in which autonomous software agents negotiate with one another, typically on behalf of humans, in order to come to mutually acceptable agreements. This theme aims to discuss the role of normative systems in agreement technologies, and the interaction of norms with other technologies such as ontologies, argumentation and trust management systems.

The three themes have overlapping topics, but their emphases show substantial differences. The social computing agenda has so far been driven by industry and applications, especially in social networks and social media. The governance agenda is driven largely by policy organizations (such as for health, safety, urban planning) with the aim of promoting better services for their citizens. Agreement technologies may be viewed as enabling both social computing and governance at one level and at another level having applications of its own such as consensus and auctions supported by specialized knowledge and infrastructure, such as required for argumentation, voting, negotiation, consensus-building, and vote accounting.