A pragmatic and semantic unified framework for agent communication

Authors: Bentahar, Jamal
Advisor: Moulin, Bernard; Chaib-draa, Brahim
Abstract: In this thesis, we propose a unified framework for the pragmatics and the semantics of agent communication. Pragmatics deals with the way agents use communicative acts when conversing. It is related to the dynamics of agent interactions and to the way of connecting individual acts while building complete conversations. Semantics is interested in the meaning of these acts. It lays down the foundation for a concise and unambiguous meaning of agent messages. This framework aims at solving three main problems of agent communication: 1- The absence of a link between the pragmatics and the semantics. 2- The inflexibility of current agent communication protocols. 3- The verification of agent communication mechanisms. The main contributions of this thesis are: 1- A formal pragmatic approach based on social commitments and arguments. 2- A new agent communication formalism called Commitment and Argument Network. 3- A logical model defining the semantics of the elements used in the pragmatic approach. 4- A tableau-based model checking technique for the verification of a kind of flexible protocols called dialogue game protocols. 5- A new persuasion dialogue game protocol. The main idea of our pragmatic approach is that agent communication is considered as actions that agents perform on social commitments and arguments. The dynamics of agent conversation is represented by this notion of actions and by the evolution of these commitments and arguments. Our Commitment and Argument Network formalism based on this approach provides an external representation of agent communication dynamics. We argue that this formalism helps agents to participate in conversations in a flexible way because they can reason about their communicative acts using their argumentation systems and the current state of the conversation. Our logical model is a model-theoretic semantics for the pragmatic approach. It defines the meaning of the different communicative acts that we use in our pragmatic approach. It also expresses the meaning of some important speech acts and it captures the semantics of defeasible arguments. This logical model allows us to establish the link between the semantics and the pragmatics of agent communication. We address the problem of verifying dialogue game protocols using a tableau-based model checking technique. These protocols are specified in terms of our logical model. We argue that our model checking algorithm provides a technique, not only to verify if the dialogue game protocol satisfies a given property, but also if this protocol respects the underlying semantics of the communicative acts. Our persuasion dialogue game protocol is specified in our framework using a logical language, and implemented using a logic programming and agent-oriented programming paradigm. In this protocol, the agents’ decision making process is based on the agents’ argumentation systems and the notion of agents’ trustworthiness.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2005
Open Access Date: 11 April 2018
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/18056
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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