Managing Conflict Resolution in Norm-Regulated Environments

  • Martin J. Kollingbaum
  • Wamberto W. Vasconcelos
  • Andres García-Camino
  • Tim J. Norman
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4995)


Norms are the obligations, permissions and prohibitions associated with members of a society. Norms provide a useful abstraction with which to specify and regulate the behaviour of self-interested software agents in open, heterogeneous systems. Any realistic account of norms must address their dynamic nature: the norms associated with agents will change as agents act (and interact) – prohibitions can be lifted, obligations can be fulfilled, and permissions can be revoked as a result of agents’ actions. These norms may at times conflict with one another, that is, an action may be simultaneously prohibited and obliged (or prohibited and permitted). Such conflicts cause norm-compliant agents to experience a paralysis: whatever they do (or not do) will go against a norm. In this paper we present mechanisms to detect and resolve normative conflicts. We achieve more expressiveness, precision and realism in our norms by using constraints over first-order variables. The mechanisms to detect and resolve norm conflicts take into account such constraints and are based on first-order unification and constraint satisfaction. We also explain how the mechanisms can be deployed in the management of norms regulating environments for software agents.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin J. Kollingbaum
    • 1
  • Wamberto W. Vasconcelos
    • 1
  • Andres García-Camino
    • 2
  • Tim J. Norman
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of Computing ScienceUniv. of AberdeenAberdeenUK
  2. 2.IIIA-CSICBellaterraSpain

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