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Semantics of Agent Communication: An Introduction

By R.M. van Eijk


Communication has been one of the salient issues in the research on\ud concurrent and distributed systems. This holds no less for the research on multiagent\ud systems. Over the last few years the study of agent communication, and in\ud particular the semantics of agent communication, has attracted increased interest.\ud The present paper provides an introduction to this area. Since agent communication\ud builds upon concepts and techniques from concurrency theory , we start\ud by giving a short historical overview that covers shared-variable concurrency,\ud message-passing, rendezvous, concurrent constraint programming and agent communication.\ud Standard approaches of agent communication identify three different\ud layers: a content layer, message layer and communication layer. To this model\ud we add an extra level, namely the layer of the multi-agent system. Subsequently,\ud we discern three approaches in developing the semantics of programming languages:\ud the axiomatic, operational and denotational approach. Additionally, we\ud discuss semantic aspects of agent communication, including communication histories,\ud compositionality, observable behaviour, failure sets and full abstractness.\ud We illustrate these issues by means of the framework ACPL (Agent Communication\ud Programming Language). Finally, we briefly consider the specification and\ud verification of agent communication

Topics: Wiskunde en Informatica
Year: 2002
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