Stellar: A Programming Model for Developing Protocol-Compliant Agents
An interaction protocol captures the rules of encounter in a multiagent system. Development of agents that comply with protocols is a central challenge of multiagent systems. Our contribution in this chapter is a programming model, Stellar, that simplifies development of agents compliant with information protocols specified in BSPL. A significant distinction of Stellar from similar approaches is that it does not rely upon extracting control flow structures from protocol specifications to ensure compliance. Instead, Stellar provides a set of fundamental operations to programmers for producing viable messages according to the correct flow of information between agents as specified by a protocol, enabling flexible design and implementation of protocol-compliant agents. Our main contributions are: (1) identification of a set of programming errors that commonly occur when developing agents for protocol-based multiagent system, (2) definition of Stellar’s operations and a simple yet effective pattern to develop protocol-compliant agents that avoid the identified errors, and (3) demonstration of Stellar’s effectiveness by presenting concrete agents in e-commerce and insurance policy domains.
Munindar P. Singh and Thomas C. King gave valuable suggestions that helped improve this chapter. Akın Günay and Amit Chopra were supported by the EPSRC grant EP/N027965/1 (Turtles).
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