Activity Theory as a Framework for MAS Coordination

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Paolo Petta, Robert Tolksdorf, Franco Zambonelli (eds.)
Engineering Societies in the Agents World III, pages 96–110
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence) 2577
April 2003

Approaches to the coordination of multiagent systems (MAS) have been recently classified as subjective — typically coming from the distributed artificial intelligence (DAI) —, and objective — coming from the community of Coordination Models and Languages.
Subjective and objective approaches have a very different impact on the engineering of social aspects of MAS, in particular with respect to the ability of specifying and enacting social laws to achieve global coherent behaviours. In this work, we provide a conceptual framework — influenced by the research on Activity Theory — where both subjective and objective coordination play an essential role, each providing effective means for the same coordination/cooperative problems at different abstraction and operational levels: co-construction/co-operation level for subjective coordination, and coordination level for objective coordination. In particular, the work shows the benefits of supporting dynamic transitions between such levels, alternating co-operation stages — in which agents reason about coordination and cooperatively forge coordination artifacts (laws, constraints, norms) — and co-ordination stages — where the artifacts, embodied in proper coordination media, are exploited, so as to enact automated, consistent and prescriptive coordination.

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book Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS)
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page_white_acrobatEngineering Societies in the Agents World III (edited volume, 2003) — Paolo Petta, Robert Tolksdorf, Franco Zambonelli
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reference publication for talk
page_white_powerpointActivity Theory as a Framework for MAS Coordination (ESAW 2002, 17/09/2002) — Andrea Omicini (Alessandro Ricci, Andrea Omicini, Enrico Denti)