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Glossary Document Releases

First Release

 

Life cycle for terms of the glossary

Status Description
Term proposed, definition in progress a term has been proposed by someone that will (contribute to) write the definition
Definition proposed one or more definitions have been proposed for a term. If more than one definition have been proposed, the term remain in this status until they are combined in an unique one. Authors of these definitions will be asked to cooperate in order to produce one unique proposal
Definition Under Approval TC members debate terms definitions (probably working on a group of similar/related terms at the same time) in order to approve them
Definition Approved The definition has been approved by the TC members and becomes part of the TC official glossary document

 

List of terms in the glossary (definitions approved or proposed).

See official glossary document above for approved definition of terms

(see the meta-model page for the relationships among these concepts during the design phase as detailed in the MAS meta-model)

Terms List for the TC website
Term Definition (proposed) Definition (x approval/approved) Sources Status of definition Included in Current Release of Glossary Included in the suggested section
Action By M. Cossentino, from FIPA97 specs: A basic construct which represents some activity which an agent may perform. A special class of actions is the communicative acts. -------------------------------------------- By M.P. Huget: A fundamental unit of behavior specification that represents some transformation or processing in the modeled system. It be a computer system or a real-world system. Actions are contained in activities, which provide their context. A fundamental unit of behavior specification that represents some activity which an agent may perform. A special class of actions is the communicative acts. FIPA97 specs, UML 2 specification version 03-04-01 Definition Approved Yes No
Activity A specification of parameterized behavior that is expressed as a flow of execution via a sequencing of subordinate units (whose primitive elements are actions).
 
UML 2 specification version 03-04-01 Definition Submitted No No
Actor By M.P. Huget: A construction that is employed in use cases that define a role that a user or any other system plays when interacting with the system under consideration. It is a type of entity that interacts, but which is itself external to the subject. Actors may represent human users, external hardware or other subjects. An actor does not necessarily represent a specific physical entity. For instance, a single physical entity may play the role of several different actors and, conversely, a given actor may be played by mutiple physical entities. ----------------------------------------- By V. Seidita and M. Cossentino: An actor is an external entity that is involved in interacting and exchanging information with the system, it can represent either a user role or another system and it can be a human or external system.
 
UML Definition Submitted No No
Adaptation Adaptation in the context of agents and multi-agent systems infers that an agent is able to adapt its behavior based on the changes of the environment (either a new or a modified one) and on the changes of the goals (either new or modified ones).
 
based on James Ingham, What is an Agent? Technical Report 6-99, University of Durham Definition Submitted No No
Adaptation, weak and strong The multi-agent community generally considers Multi-Agent Systems as being adaptive because agents are autonomous, situated, pro-active, social... The condition for the system to adapt is to be composed of autonomous agents. In our point of view, this kind of adaptation is weak adaptation and all existing multi-agent systems are adaptive in this sense. We call 'strong adaptation' of a multi-agent system, the ability this system possesses to take into account unpredictable events in order to react to evolutionary environments in order to realize its 'right' task.
 

 
Definition Submitted No No
Adaptive multi-agent system (AMAS) An adaptive multi-agent system is a multi-agent system which is able to change its behaviour while running. It does this to adjust its behaviour to its dynamic environment in order to achieve the task it is designed for or to improve its function or its performances. Such a system is characterised by the following points: (1) it is plunged into an environment, (2) it has a function to achieve and (3) it is composed of interacting agents. The AMAS theory says that for all functionally adequate system (realising the desired function) there is at least a system having a co-operative internal medium which realises an equivalent function. In other words, to design a system realising the desired function, having a system formed by co-operative agents is sufficient; this co-operation directs the social attitude of these agents. An adaptive multi-agent system is a multi-agent system which is able to change its behaviour while running. It does this to adjust its behaviour to its dynamic environment in order to achieve the task it is designed for or to improve its function or its performances. Such a system is characterised by the following points: (1) it is plunged into an environment, (2) it has a function to achieve and (3) it is composed of interacting agents. The AMAS theory says that for all functionally adequate system (realising the desired function) there is at least a system having a co-operative internal medium which realises an equivalent function. In other words, to design a system realising the desired function, having a system formed by co-operative agents is sufficient; this co-operation directs the social attitude of these agents.
 
Definition Approved Yes No
Adaptive system An adaptive system is a system that is able to evolve and adapt its behavior when modifications occur in the environment or in the goals defined for this system. An adaptive system is a system that is able to evolve and adapt its behavior when modifications occur in the environment or in the goals defined for this system.
 
Definition Approved Yes No
Agent (FIPA Agent) Definition from FIPA97 specs: An agent is a computational process that implements the autonomous, communicating functionality of an application. Typically, agents communicate using an Agent Communication Language. A concrete instantiation of agent is a mandatory element of every concrete instantiation of the FIPA Abstract Architecture. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Definition from FIPA Abstract Arch. Spec.: An Agent is the fundamental actor in a domain. It combines one or more service capabilities into a unified and integrated execution model which can include access to external software, human users and communication facilities. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Alternative definition by C. Bernon, M. P. Gleizes: The classical definition by Ferber [Ferber 99] can be used as a starting point. An agent is a physical or virtual entity: - which is capable of action in an environment - which can communicate directly with other agents - which is driven by a set of tendencies (in the form of individual objective or of a satisfaction/survival function which it tries to optimise) - which possesses resources of its own - which is capable of perceiving its environment (but to a limited extent) - which has only a partial representation of this environment (and perhaps none at all) - which possesses skills and can offer services - which may be able to reproduce itself - whose behaviour tends towards satisfying its objective, taking account of the resources and skills available to it and depending of its perception, its representation and the communication it receives. In our case, it is necessary to add that the lifecycle of an agent is: - perceive, - decide, - act. An agent (FIPA agent) is a software entity: - which is capable of action in an environment - which can communicate directly with other agents tipically using an Agent Communication Language - which is driven by a set of tendencies (in the form of individual objective or of a satisfaction/survival function which it tries to optimise) - which possesses resources of its own - which is capable of perceiving its environment (but to a limited extent) - which has only a partial representation of this environment (and perhaps none at all) - which possesses skills and can offer services - which may be able to reproduce itself - whose behaviour tends towards satisfying its objective, taking account of the resources and skills available to it and depending of its perception, its representation and the communication it receives. FIPA97 specs,FIPA abstract architecture document (http://www.fipa.org/specs/fipa00003/OC00003.pdf) FIPA Abstract Arch. Spec. : http://www.fipa.org/specs/fipa00001 [Ferber 99] - Jacques FERBER - Multi-Agent System: An Introduction to Distributed Artificial Intelligence - Addison Wesley Longman, 1999. Definition Approved Yes Yes
Agent Characteristics by M. P. Gleizes, C. Bernon: A characteristic is an intrinsic or physical property of an agent. ------------------------------------------------------ by M.P. Huget An agent characteristics also called features correspond to a set of elements that allow to distinguish and identify an agent from others, such characteristics are for instance intelligence, cognition, reactivity. A characteristic is an intrinsic or physical property of an agent.
 
Definition Approved Yes No
Agent Interaction Protocol (AIP) A common pattern of conversations used to perform some generally useful task. The protocol is often used to facilitate a simplification of the computational machinery needed to support a given dialogue task between two agents. Throughout this document, we reserve protocol to refer to dialogue patterns between agents, and networking protocol to refer to underlying transport mechanisms such as TCP/IP. A common pattern of conversations used to perform some generally useful task. The protocol is often used to facilitate a simplification of the computational machinery needed to support a given dialogue task between two agents. Throughout this document, we reserve protocol to refer to dialogue patterns between agents, and networking protocol to refer to underlying transport mechanisms such as TCP/IP.
 
Definition Under approval Yes No
Analysis Analysis also called requirements analysis or requirements engineering. The term has been invented to cover all of the activities involved in discovering, documenting and maintaining a set of requirements for a computer-based system. It corresponds to the very first phase in life cycle. Analysis also called requirements analysis or requirements engineering. The term has been invented to cover all of the activities involved in discovering, documenting and maintaining a set of requirements for a computer-based system. It corresponds to the very first phase in life cycle. based on Sommerville and Sawyer definition Definition Approved Yes Yes
Aptitude An agent possesses some aptitudes to reason both about its knowledge and beliefs. More precisely this knowledge concerns operating knowledge like, for instance, ability to interpret a signal coming from another agent or from the environment.
 

 
Definition Submitted No No
AUML Agent UML (AUML) is a graphical language based on the modeling language UML. Its aim is to provide a notation for the design of multiagent systems. It takes the elements (diagrams, stereotypes) from UML and add new diagrams and stereotypes to cope agent characteristics such as autonomy. Agent UML (AUML) is a graphical language based on the modeling language UML. Its aim is to provide a notation for the design of multiagent systems. It takes the elements (diagrams, stereotypes) from UML and add new diagrams and stereotypes to cope agent characteristics such as autonomy.
 
Definition Approved Yes Yes
Autonomous agent See Autonomy An agent which has the autonomy property (see Autonomy).
 
Definition Approved Yes No
Autonomy The autonomy of an agent can be expressed as following: 1) An agent has its own life, independently of the existence of other agents, 2) An agent is able to survive in dynamic environments without an external control, 3) An agent takes internal decisions about its behaviour only considering the perceptions, knowledge and representations it possesses. The autonomy of an agent can be expressed as following: 1) An agent has its own life, independently of the existence of other agents, 2) An agent is able to survive in dynamic environments without an external control, 3) An agent takes internal decisions about its behaviour only considering the perceptions, knowledge and representations it possesses.
 
Definition Approved Yes No
Behaviour First definition by M.P. Huget: a task represents the atomic activity within a process. It means that it is no longer possible to decompose it into sub-tasks. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Alternative definition by M.P. Huget: a behavior is the observable effects of an operation or an event, including its results. It specifies the computation that generates the effects of the behavioral feature. A behavior is the observable effects of an operation or an event, including its results. It specifies the computation that generates the effects of the behavioral feature. See also Task
 
Definition Approved Yes No
Belief A belief depicts a mental state that an agent can have about the environment, other agents and about itself A belief depicts a mental state that an agent can have about the environment, other agents and about itself
 
Definition Under approval No No
Class a classifier that describes of a set of objects that share the same specifications of features, constraints and semantics.
 
UML 2 specification version 03-04-01 Definition Submitted No No
Class diagram a diagram that shows a collection of declarative (static) model elements, such as classes, types, and their contents and relationships.
 
UML 2 specification version 03-04-01 Definition Submitted No No
Collaboration Collaboration is concerned with the interactions between agents in a multiagent system that the whole system is also considered as an agent with certain structure of system's global state. It is concerned with the relationships between individual agents' mental structures and internal states and the system's collective mental structure and state. For example, a collaborative model of multiagent systems may contain a model of system's global intention and individual agent's intention, and we can talk about congruence (that is the consistency between an agent's behaviour and the whole system's global goal or intention) and coherence (that is the consistency between an agent's internal state, such as intention, and the system's goal or intention). (In other words, the difference between cooperation and collaboration is that cooperation does not have a model of the whole system as an agent.) Collaboration is concerned with the interactions between agents in a multiagent system when the whole system is also considered as an agent with certain structure of system's global state. Particularly, it is concerned with the relationships between individual agents' mental structures and internal states and the system's collective mental structure and state. For example, a collaborative model of multiagent systems may contain a model of system's global intention and individual agent's intention, and we can talk about congruence (that is the consistency between an agent's behaviour and the whole system's global goal or intention) and coherence (that is the consistency between an agent's internal state, such as intention, and the system's goal or intention).
 
Definition Approved Yes No
Collaboration diagram a diagram that shows a collection of collaborations between agents and how this collaboration is performed through goals and intentions
 

 
Definition Submitted No No
Communicative act A special class of actions that correspond to the basic building blocks of dialogue between agents. A communicative act has a well-defined, declarative meaning independent of the content of any given act. CAs are modelled on speech act theory. Pragmatically, CAs are performed by an agent sending a message to another agent, using the message format described in FIPA97, part 2. A special class of actions that correspond to the basic building blocks of dialogue between agents. A communicative act (CA) has a well-defined, declarative meaning independent of the content of any given act. CAs are modelled on speech act theory. Pragmatically, CAs are performed by an agent sending a message to another agent, using the standard FIPA message format. FIPA 97 specs Definition Approved Yes No
Container An instance that exists to contain other instances, and that provides operations to access or iterate over its contents ------------------------------------ Alternative def: a component that exists to contain other components
 
UML 2 specification version 03-04-01 Definition Submitted No No
Content language The content of a FIPA message refers to whatever the communicative act applies to. If, in general terms, the communicative act is considered as a sentence, the content is the grammatical object of the sentence. This content can be encoded in any language, the content language, denoted by the :language parameter of the communicative act. The content of a FIPA message refers to whatever the communicative act applies to. If, in general terms, the communicative act is considered as a sentence, the content is the grammatical object of the sentence. This content can be encoded in any language, the content language, denoted by the language parameter of the communicative act. FIPA 97 specs Definition Approved Yes No
Conversation An ongoing sequence of communicative acts exchanged between two (or more) agents relating to some ongoing topic of discourse. A conversation may (perhaps implicitly) accumulate context that is used to determine the meaning of later messages in the conversation. An ongoing sequence of communicative acts exchanged between two (or more) agents relating to some ongoing topic of discourse. A conversation may (perhaps implicitly) accumulate context that is used to determine the meaning of later messages in the conversation. FIPA 97 specs Definition Approved Yes No
Cooperation Proposed by M. P. Gleizes, C. Bernon: Cooperation represents the social attitude of a cooperative agent. For an agent, cooperation is fulfilled if: 1) All perceived signals must be understood without ambiguity, 2) The resulting information is useful for its reasoning, 3) Reasoning leads to useful actions towards other agents. ------------------------------------------------------ Proposed by H. Zhu: Cooperation is concerned with those aspects of the interactions between agents that are related to the internal structures and mechanisms of individual agents about how an agent particulate in the interactions. For example, in a cooperative model of multiagent systems, we would expect a model of agents' mental state of willingness to participate in an interaction with other agents, such as how an agent to discover that another agent's intension or believe matches its own intention, etc. (Essentially, cooperation is the study of agent interactions by considering agents as white-boxes.) Cooperation is concerned with those aspects of the interactions between agents that are related to the internal structures and mechanisms of individual agents and describes how an agent participate in the interactions. For example, in a cooperative model of multiagent systems, we would expect that the model of agents' mental state of willingness allows agents to participate in an interaction with other agents. Studying cooperation, agents are, essentially, considered as white-boxes. For the Zhu's definition: http://jamesodell.com/AAMAS-2002-Parunak.pdf Definition Approved Yes No
Cooperation failure A cooperation failure corresponds to the detection of a Non Cooperative Situation. Such a failure can be viewed as a cooperation protocol which is not obeyed or "bad" (wrong) interactions that may occur between the system and its environment. A cooperation failure corresponds to the detection of a Non Cooperative Situation. Such a failure can be viewed as a cooperation protocol which is not obeyed or "bad" (wrong) interactions that may occur between the system and its environment.
 
Definition Approved Yes No
Cooperative Agent When working with co-operative agents to build Adaptive Multi-Agent Systems, the autonomy is the main property of an agent. An agent is able to decide of its own behaviour. Furthermore, agents in AMAS have a special social attitude: they must be cooperative. So, an agent must detect and process Non Cooperative Situations to always act to come back in a state it judges being cooperative from its own point of view. For instance, an agent that does not possess an information requested by another agent will do all it can to find another agent able to answer this request. When working with co-operative agents to build Adaptive Multi-Agent Systems, the autonomy is the main property of an agent. An agent is able to decide of its own behaviour. Furthermore, agents in AMAS have a special social attitude: they must be cooperative. So, an agent must detect and process Non Cooperative Situations to always act to come back in a state it judges being cooperative from its own point of view. For instance, an agent that does not possess an information requested by another agent will do all it can to find another agent able to answer this request.
 
Definition Approved Yes No
Coordination Coordination is concerned with the interactions between agents that can be modelled, described and observed without refer to the internal structures of the agents. It is about the information flows between the agents and the temporal ordering of actions and events, in particular, the synchronisation issues, related to the behaviours of agents in a multi-agent system. (Essential, coordination is the study of agent interactions by considering agents as black-boxes.) Coordination is concerned with the interactions between agents that can be modelled, described and observed without refer to the internal structures of the agents. It is about the information flows between the agents and the temporal ordering of actions and events, in particular, the synchronisation issues, related to the behaviours of agents in a multi-agent system. Studying coordination, agents are essentially considered as black-boxes. http://jamesodell.com/AAMAS-2002-Parunak.pdf Definition Under approval Yes No
Deliberative agent A deliberative agent is a specific kind of agent that takes into account its beliefs, desires, intentions, the environment and beliefs it has on other agents to weigh its actions. A synonym could be a BDI agent. A deliberative agent is a specific kind of agent that takes into account its beliefs, desires, intentions, the environment and beliefs it has on other agents to weigh its actions. A synonym could be a BDI agent.
 
Definition Under approval No No
Deployment Diagram A diagram that depicts the execution architecture of systems. It represents system artifacts as nodes, which are connected through communication paths to create network systems of arbitrary complexity. Nodes are typically defined in a nested manner, and represent either hardware devices or software execution environments.
 
UML 2 specification version 03-04-01 Definition Submitted No No
Design IEEE def. Design is both the process of defining the architecture, components, interfaces, and other characteristics of a system or component and the result of that process --------------------------- Alternative def.: Software design is the activity where software requirements are analyzed in order to produce a description of the internal structure and organization of the system that will serve as the basis for its construction. There are two activities: 1.Software architectural design - the top-level structure and organization of the system is described and various components are identified (how the system is decomposed and organized into components and must describe the interfaces between these components. 2.Software implementation design - each component is sufficiently described to allow for its coding. The software design objectives: a) to produce various models that can be analyzed and evaluated to determine if they will allow the various requirements to be fulfilled, b) to examine and evaluate various alternative solutions and trade-offs, and c) to plan the subsequent development activities. Design is both the process of defining the architecture, components, interfaces, and other characteristics of a system or component and the result of that process The software design objectives: a) to produce various models that can be analyzed and evaluated to determine if they will allow the various requirements to be fulfilled, b) to examine and evaluate various alternative solutions and trade-offs, and c) to plan the subsequent development activities. IEEE specs, http://cs.wwc.edu/~aabyan/435/ Definition Approved Yes Yes
Desire A desire depicts a situation that agents want to achieve. Desires can be orthogonal. A desire depicts a situation that agents want to achieve. Desires can be orthogonal.
 
Definition Under approval No No
Emergence A computer system aims at realising a function which must be adequate with what we can expect of it. This function may evolve with time and we want it to emerge. This function is emerging if the system coding does not depend on the knowledge of the function. This coding must contain mechanisms enabling the system adaptation during its exchanges with the environment in order to always lead to the adequate function. In the AMAS theory, changing the function is realised by changing the organisation of the components of the system. The mechanisms are specified by rules governing the self-organisation between components. These rules do not depend on the knowledge of the collective function. A computer system aims at realising a function which must be adequate with what we can expect of it. This function may evolve with time and we want it to emerge. This function is emerging if the system coding does not depend on the knowledge of the function. This coding must contain mechanisms enabling the system adaptation during its exchanges with the environment in order to always lead to the adequate function. In the AMAS theory, changing the function is realised by changing the organisation of the components of the system. The mechanisms are specified by rules governing the self-organisation between components. These rules do not depend on the knowledge of the collective function.
 
Definition Approved Yes No
Entity
 

 

 
Term proposed, definition in progress No No
Environment Definition by C. Bernon, M.P. Gleizes: The environment of an agent refers to all that is external to the agent. One can distinguish the social environment (the agents it knows) from the physical environment (the material resources that can be perceived by the agent or by its own effectors). An environment may be characterized using terms provided in [Russel 95] which can be also be found in [Wooldridge 00] and [Lind 01]. -Accessible environment (as opposed to "inaccessible"). An agent plunged into an accessible environment can obtain complete, accurate and up-to-date information about the state of its environment. In an inaccessible environment, only partial information is available to agents. ------------------------------------------- Definition by A. Garro: The totality of circumstances surrounding an agent or group of agents, especially: (i) The combination of external physical conditions that affect and influence the growth, development, and survival of agents (ii) The complex of social and cultural conditions affecting the nature of an agent or a community. -Continuous environment (as opposed to "discrete"). In a continuous environment, the number of possible actions and perceptions in the environment is infinite. In a discrete environment, the agent has distinct, clearly defined percepts that describe the environment. -Deterministic environment (as opposed to "non deterministic"). In a determinist environment an action has a single and certain effect. If an agent acts in its environment, there is no uncertainty about the effect of its action on the state of the environment. The next state of the environment is completely determined by the current state (as perceived by the agent). In a non deterministic environment, an action does not have a single guaranteed effect. Dynamic environment (as opposed to "static"). The state of a dynamic environment depends upon actions of the agents that are within this environment but is also dependent on the actions of some other processes. So, changes cannot be predicted by agents. A static environment cannot change while agents are not acting. The environment of an agent refers to all that is external to the agent, this includes the totality of circumstances surrounding an agent or group of agents. We can consider the physical and social environment. Physical Environment: The combination of external physical conditions that affect and influence the growth, development, actions and survival of agents. Social Environment: The complex of social and cultural conditions affecting the nature of an agent or a community. [Lind 01] - JŁrgen LIND - Iterative Software Engineering for Multiagent Systems - Volume 1994 of Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence, Springer Verlag, Heidelberg, 2001. [Russell 95] - S. RUSSEL & P. NORVIG - Artificial Intelligence: a Modern Approach - Prentice-Hall. [Woolridge 00] - Michael WOOLRIDGE - On the Sources of Complexity in Agent Design - In Applied Artificial Intelligence. 14(7):623-644. 2000. Definition Approved Yes No
Event The specification of a signification occurrence that has a location in time and space and can cause the execution of an associated behavior. In the context of state diagrams, an event is an occurrence that can trigger a transition. The specification of a signification occurrence that has a location in time and space and can cause the execution of an associated behavior. UML 2 specification version 03-04-01 Definition Approved Yes Yes
Functional adequacy A system is functionally adequate when it realises the right function, the function for which it has been designed. A system is functionally adequate when it realises the right function, the function for which it has been designed.
 
Definition Approved Yes Yes
Functionality
 

 

 
Term proposed, definition in progress No No
Goal Definition by M. P. Gleizes, C. Bernon: A goal is a set of states of the world that an agent is committed to achieve/maintain. Therefore a goal is a situation, but not all situations are goals. A set of states of the world is generally not a goal unless there is an agent committed to achieve/maintain this set of states [Eurecom 00]. ---------------------------- Definition by A. Garro: Task to achieve. The purpose toward which the Agentís behaviour is directed. A goal is a set of states of the world that an agent is committed to achieve/maintain. Therefore a goal is a situation, but not all situations are goals. A set of states of the world is generally not a goal unless there is an agent committed to achieve/maintain this set of states. [Eurescom 00] Eurescom - Project P907-GI - MESSAGE: Methodology for Engineering Systems of Software Agents, Deliverable 1- Initial Methodology - 2000. http://www.eurescom.de/~pub-deliverables/P900-series/P907/D1/P907D1 Definition Approved Yes Yes
GUI
 

 

 
Term proposed, definition in progress No No
Host
 

 

 
Term proposed, definition in progress No No
Implementation this phase in the life cycle corresponds to where the code is written. Platform independent models from the design phase are now instantiated for specific platforms. the phase of the software life cycle where code is written. Platform independent models from the design phase are now instantiated for specific platforms.
 
Definition Approved Yes Yes
Intention An intention corresponds to a state of the world that an agent is about to achieve. An intention is refined into a plan that the agent executes to achieve a specific intention. Intentions are not orthogonal. An intention corresponds to a state of the world that an agent is about to achieve. An intention is refined into a plan that the agent executes to achieve a specific intention. Intentions are not orthogonal.
 
Definition Under approval No No
Interaction A specification of how stimuli are sent between instances to perform a specific task. The interaction is defined in the context of collaboration. A specification of how stimuli are sent between instances to perform a specific task. The interaction is defined in the context of collaboration. UML 2 specification version 03-04-01 Definition Approved Yes Yes
Interaction language The interaction language is a set of tools needed by the agent to directly or indirectly communicate towards other agents or towards its environment. The interaction language is a set of tools needed by the agent to directly or indirectly communicate towards other agents or towards its environment.
 
Definition Approved Yes Yes
Message An individual unit of communication between two or more agents. A message corresponds to a communicative act, in the sense that a message encodes the communicative act for reliable transmission between agents. Note that communicative acts can be recursively composed, so while the outermost act is directly encoded by the message, taken as a whole a given message may represent multiple individual communicative acts. An individual unit of communication between two or more agents. A message corresponds to a communicative act, in the sense that a message encodes the communicative act for reliable transmission between agents. Note that communicative acts can be recursively composed, so while the outermost act is directly encoded by the message, taken as a whole a given message may represent multiple individual communicative acts. FIPA 97 specs Definition Approved Yes No
Method A repeatable tecnique for solving a specific problem A repeatable technique for solving a specific problem B. Bruegge and A.H. Dutoit. Object-Oriented Software Engineering. Prentice Hall eds. 2000 Definition Approved Yes No
Method adequacy
 

 

 
Term proposed, definition in progress No No
Method Engineering It is a discipline where methods themselves are the engineering target and its aim is to design, construct and adapt methods, technique and tools for the development of software systems. It is based on reuse and integration of contributions coming from existing methodologies in order to obtain the best process for own specific problem. It is a discipline where methods themselves are the engineering target and its aim is to design, construct and adapt methods, technique and tools for the development of software systems. It is based on reuse and integration of contributions coming from existing methodologies in order to obtain the best process for own specific problem. Brinkkemper Definition Approved Yes No
Method fragment
 
See Method Fragment Definition document produce by the Methodology TC
 
Definition Approved Yes No
Methodology Def. 1: The study of how to navigate through each phase of the software process model (determining data, control, or uses hierarchies, partitioning functions, and allocating requirements) and how to represent phase products (structure charts, stimulus-response threads, and state transition diagrams). Def. 2 A collection of methods for solving a class of problems A collection of methods for solving a class of problems B. Bruegge and A.H. Dutoit. Object-Oriented Software Engineering. Prentice Hall eds. 2000 Definition Under approval Yes Yes
Multi-Agent System A Multi-Agent System is a system composed of a great number of autonomous entities, named agents, having a collective behaviour that allows to obtain the desired function. A Multi-Agent System is a system composed of a great number of autonomous entities, named agents, having a collective behaviour that allows to obtain the desired function/service. FOLDOC (Free On-Line Dictionary Of Computing, http://wombat.doc.ic.ac.uk/foldoc/) Definition Approved Yes Yes
mutual goals mutual goals (also covered by joint intentions) represent that a multiagent system has a goal and that sub-goals of this goal are shared between all the agents present in the multiagent systems. This mutual goal requires some coordination mechanism to ensure agents do not to put themselves out each other.
 

 
Definition Submitted No No
Non cooperative situations When the environment is unpredictable, or when the system is open, classical algorithms fail because the designer is unable to find an algorithm that is able to list all the existing possibilities. The aim of the AMAS technology is to design systems that do their best when a difficulty is encountered. In classical programs, these unexpected events can be processed as exceptions. In the AMAS theory context, these "exceptions" - expressing unusual situations that an agent may be faced with - are called "Non Cooperative Situations" (NCS). Different kinds of NCS exist, such as: - Incomprehension, - Ambiguity, - Incompetence, - Concurrency, - Conflict, - Uselessness. When the environment is unpredictable, or when the system is open, classical algorithms fail because the designer is unable to find an algorithm that is able to list all the existing possibilities. The aim of the AMAS technology is to design systems that do their best when a difficulty is encountered. In classical programs, these unexpected events can be processed as exceptions. In the AMAS theory context, these "exceptions" - expressing unusual situations that an agent may be faced with - are called "Non Cooperative Situations" (NCS). Different kinds of NCS exist, such as: - Incomprehension, - Ambiguity, - Incompetence, - Concurrency, - Conflict, - Uselessness.
 
Definition Approved Yes No
Notation Def1: Any particular system of characters, symbols, or abbreviated expressions used in art or science, to express briefly technical facts, quantities, etc. Esp., the system of figures, letters, and signs used in arithmetic and algebra to express number, quantity, or operations Def 2: A graphical or textual set of rules for representing a model A graphical or textual set of rules for representing a model 1) Webster dictionary 2) B. Bruegge and A.H. Dutoit. Object-Oriented Software Engineering. Prentice Hall eds. 2000 Definition Approved Yes Yes
Ontology An ontology is an explicit specification of the structure of a certain domain (e.g. e-commerce, sport, ...). For the practical goals of FIPA (that is enabling development and deployment of inter-operable agent-based applications), this includes a vocabulary (i.e. a list of logical constants and predicate symbols) for referring to the subject area, and a set of logical statements expressing the constraints existing in the domain and restricting the interpretation of the vocabulary. Ontologies therefore provide a vocabulary for representing and communicating knowledge about some topic and a set of relationships and properties that hold for the entities denoted by that vocabulary. A set of symbols together with an associated interpretation that may be shared by a community of agents or software. An ontology includes a vocabulary of symbols referring to objects in the subject domain, as well as symbols referring to relationships that may be evident in the domain. FIPA97 specs,FIPA abstract architecture document (http://www.fipa.org/specs/fipa00003/OC00003.pdf) Definition Approved Yes Yes
Open systems An open system is a multiagent system where agents can enter and leave at any moment during the execution. An open system is a multiagent system where agents can enter and leave at any moment during the execution.
 
Definition Approved Yes Yes
Openess openess is a feature of an open system openess is a feature of an open system
 
Definition Approved Yes Yes
Package a general purpose mechanism for organizing elements into groups. Packages may be nested within other packages.
 
UML 2 specification version 03-04-01 Definition Submitted No No
Perception Perception is a mean to receive information from the physical or social (other agents) environment. Thus, the designer has to give some perceptive capabilities to the agent. Perception is a mean to receive information from the physical or social (other agents) environment. Thus, the designer has to give some perceptive capabilities to the agent.
 
Definition Approved Yes Yes
Performative a performative (also called communicative act) is the basic unit in conversations either in human ones or in agent ones. It represents a verb that describes the action associated to a content sent to recipients. It carries the meaning of the message and what is the intention of the sender. See Communicative Act
 
Definition Approved Yes No
Process Definition0: a heavyweight unit of concurrency and execution in an operating system. Definition 1: a software development process---the steps and guidelines by which to develop a system Definition 2: to execute an algorithm or otherwise handle something dynamically Definition 3: It is a set of activities and associated results that is performed towards a specific purpose A set of activities and associated results that is performed towards a specific purpose UML 2 specification version 03-04-01, OMG SPEM (Software Process Engineering Metamodel) Specification Definition Approved Yes Yes
Profile a stereotyped package that contains model elements that have been customized for a specific domain or purpose using extension mechanisms, such as stereotypes, tagged definitions and constraints. Aprofile may also specify librairies on which it depends and the metamodel subset that it extends.
 
UML 2 specification version 03-04-01 Definition Submitted No No
Protocol From FIPA97 specs: A common pattern of conversations used to perform some generally useful task. The protocol is often used to facilitate a simplification of the computational machinery needed to support a given dialogue task between two agents. Throughout this document, we reserve protocol to refer to dialogue patterns between agents, and networking protocol to refer to underlying transport mechanisms such as TCP/IP. --------------------------------------------------- By M.P. Huget A set of formal rules describing how to transmit data, especially across a network. Low level protocols define the electrical and physical standards to be observed, bit- and byte-ordering and the transmission and error detection and correction of the bit stream. High level protocols deal with the data formatting, including the syntax of messages, the terminal to computer dialogue, character sets, sequencing of messages etc.
 
FIPA 97 specs, Computing dictionnary Definition Submitted No No
Protocol Diagram
 

 

 
Term proposed, definition in progress No No
Reactive agent A reactive agent is an agent that reacts to incoming events perceived in the environment. A reactive agent does not model an action on its beliefs since it has none. A reactive agent answers to an event by a pre-defined action. A reactive agent has no knowledge of other agents and only a limited view of the environment corresponding to the environment surrounding it.
 

 
Definition Submitted No No
Representation
 

 

 
Term proposed, definition in progress No No
Requirement (functional and non functional) A requirement represents a feature that the system to be must exhibit, it can be a functional requirement such as service or a non-functional requirement such as a constraint. A requirement represents a feature that the system to be must exhibit, it can be a functional requirement such as service or a non-functional requirement such as a constraint on the system (or a specific part of it) performance. B. Bruegge and A.H. Dutoit. Object-Oriented Software Engineering. Prentice Hall eds. 2000 Definition Approved Yes Yes
Resource
 

 

 
Term proposed, definition in progress No No
Responsibility
 

 

 
Term proposed, definition in progress No No
Role The characteristic and expected social behaviour of an agent. {FROM [Woold00]} A role is defined by four attributes: responsibilities, permissions, activities, and protocols. Responsibilities determine functionality and, as such, are perhaps the key attribute associated with a role. An example responsibility associated with the role of company president might be calling the shareholders meeting every year. Responsibilities are divided into two types: liveness properties and safety properties. Liveness properties intuitively state that something good happens. They describe those states of affairs that an agent must bring about, given certain environmental conditions. In contrast, safety properties are invariants. Intuitively, a safety property states that nothing bad happens i.e., that an acceptable state of affairs is maintained cross all states of execution). An example might be "ensure the reactor temperature always remains in the range 0-100". In order to realise responsibilities, a role has a set of permissions. Permissions are the "rights" associated with a role. The permissions of a role thus identify the resources that are available to that role in order to realise its responsibilities. In the kinds of system that we have typically modelled, permissions tend to be information resources. For example, a role might have associated with it the ability to read a particular item of information, or to modify another piece of information. A role can also have the ability to generate information. The activities of a role are computations associated with the role that may be carried out by the agent without interacting with other agents. Activities are thus "private" actions. Finally, a role is also identified with a number of protocols, which define the way that it can interact with other roles. For example, a "seller" role might have the protocols "Dutch auction" and "English auction" associated with it; the Contract Net Protocol is associated with the roles "manager" and "contractor". A portion of the social behavior of an agent that is characterized by some specificity such as a goal, a set of attributes (for example responsibilities, permissions, activities, and protocols) or providing a functionality/service. [Woold00]: M. Wooldrige, N. R. Jennings and D. Kinny, The Gaia Methodology for Agent-Oriented Analysis and Design, Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems, volume 3, pp 285-312, Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands, 2000. Definition Approved Yes Yes
Self-organisation Definition from [Heylighen 01]: self-organisation can represent the spontaneous emergence of global coherence out of the local interactions between initially independent components. Self-organization is a process whereby pattern at the global level of a system emerges solely from interactions among the lower-level components of the system. The rules specifying the interactions among the systemís components are executed using only local information, without reference to the global pattern. This definition suits well for the AMAS we are studying in which self-organisation is led by cooperation. System that adapts itself using self-organisation. The function of the system emerges, at the global level, from the interaction between its components at the local level. A cooperative agent, in our case, does not know this global function and only knows its own goal. [Heylighen 01] - F. HEYLIGHEN - The Science of Self-organization and Adaptivity - In The Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems, (EOLSS Publishers Co. Ltd), 2001. Definition Approved Yes Yes
Self-organising systems System that adapts itself using self-organisation. The function of the system emerges, at the global level, from the interaction between its components at the local level. A cooperative agent, in our case, does not know this global function and only knows its own goal. System that adapts itself using self-organisation. The function of the system emerges, at the global level, from the interaction between its components at the local level.
 
Definition Approved Yes Yes
Sequence diagram a diagram that depicts an interaction by focusing on the sequence of messages that are exchanged, along with their corresponding event occurrences on the lifelines. Unlike a communication diagram, a sequence diagram includes time sequences but does not include object relationships. A sequence diagram can exist in a generic form (describes all possible scenarios) or in an instance form (describes one actual scenario). Sequence diagrams and communication diagrams express similar information but show it in different ways.
 
2 specification version 03-04-01 Definition Submitted No No
Service (Software service) A service is a single, coherent block of activity in which an agent will engage. A set of services is associated with each agent role. For each service that may be performed by an agent, it is necessary to specify its properties. Specifically, we must identify the inputs, outputs, pre-conditions, and post-conditions of each service. A service is a single, coherent block of activity in which an agent will engage. A set of services can be associated with each agent role. For each service that may be performed by an agent, it is necessary to specify its properties. Specifically, we must identify the inputs, outputs, pre-conditions, and post-conditions of each service.
 
Definition Approved Yes Yes
Skill Skills of an agent refer to its knowledge about the domain.
 

 
Definition Submitted No No
Speech act The notion of a speech act is derived from the linguistic analysis of human communication. It is based on the idea that with language the speaker not only makes statements, but also performs actions, e.g. a request or an assertion. In this context, a verb denoting a speech act, is called a performative, since saying it makes it so. See FIPA97, part 2 for more details. The notion of a speech act is derived from the linguistic analysis of human communication. It is based on the idea that with language the speaker not only makes statements, but also performs actions, e.g. a request or an assertion. In this context, a verb denoting a speech act, is called a performative, since saying it makes it so. FIPA 97 specs Definition Approved Yes Yes
Speech Act theory A theory of communications which is used as the basis for ACL. Speech act theory is derived from the linguistic analysis of human communication. It is based on the idea that with language the speaker not only makes statements, but also performs actions. A speech act can be put in a stylised form that begins "I hereby request ..." or "I hereby declare ...". In this form the verb is called the performative, since saying it makes it so. Verbs that cannot be put into this form are not speech acts, for example "I hereby solve this equation" does not actually solve the equation. A theory of communications which is used as the basis for ACL. Speech act theory is derived from the linguistic analysis of human communication. It is based on the idea that with language the speaker not only makes statements, but also performs actions. A speech act can be put in a stylised form that begins "I hereby request ..." or "I hereby declare ...". In this form the verb is called the performative, since saying it makes it so. Verbs that cannot be put into this form are not speech acts, for example "I hereby solve this equation" does not actually solve the equation.
 
Definition Approved Yes Yes
Statechart diagram
 

 
UML? Term proposed, definition in progress No No
Step The atomic element of an Activity
 
SPEM Definition Submitted No No
Stereotype a class that defines how an existing metaclass (or stereotype) may be extended, and enables the use of platform or domain specific terminology or notation in addition to the ones used for the extended metaclass.
 
UML 2 specification version 03-04-01 Definition Submitted No No
System an organized array of elements functioning as a unit
 
UML 2 specification version 03-04-01 Definition Submitted No No
Task Often used as synonymous of Behaviour (see Behaviour) but with the significance of atomic part of the overall agent behaviour. Often used as synonymous of Behaviour (see Behaviour) but with the significance of atomic part of the overall agent behaviour.
 
Definition Approved Yes No
Testing Testing finds cases where a program does not meet its specification (given specifications F and program P, find as many of (f1, f2, ..,fp) of F not satisfied by P). Testing finds cases where a program does not meet its specification (given specifications F and program P, find as many of (f1, f2, ..,fp) of F not satisfied by P). [Hailpern] B. Hailpern, P. Santhanam. Software Debugging, testing and verification. IBM Systems Journal. Vol 41, 1, 2002. Definition Approved Yes Yes
Use case the specification of a sequence of actions, including variants, that a system (or other entity) can perform, interacting with actors of the system.
 
UML 2 specification version 03-04-01 Definition Submitted No No
Utterance an utterance is an instance of a speech act where a speech act is associated to a specific content. another name of an utterance is a message.
 

 
Definition Submitted No No
Validation Definition 1: this phase of the life cycle deals with testing that the designed system has some properties that were defined in the analysis. Properties to check could be both properties that have to be present and properties to avoid. Definition 2: The process of evaluation of software at the end of the software development process to ensure compliance with requirements The process of evaluation of software at the end of the software development process to ensure compliance with requirements [Hailpern] B. Hailpern, P. Santhanam. Software Debugging, testing and verification. IBM Systems Journal. Vol 41, 1, 2002. Definition Approved Yes Yes
Verification Given a program and a set of specifications, verification shows that the program satisfies those specifications. Given a program and a set of specifications, verification shows that the program satisfies those specifications. [Hailpern] B. Hailpern, P. Santhanam. Software Debugging, testing and verification. IBM Systems Journal. Vol 41, 1, 2002. Definition Approved Yes Yes
Work definition A WorkDefinition describes the work performed in the process. Instances of the WorkDefinition class can be created to represent composite pieces of work that are further decomposed. It has explicit inputs and outputs. A WorkDefinition describes the work performed in the process. Instances of the WorkDefinition class can be created to represent composite pieces of work that are further decomposed. It has explicit inputs and outputs. SPEM Definition Approved Yes No
Work product A work product or artifact is anything produced, consumed, or modified by a process. A work product or artifact is anything produced, consumed, or modified by a process. SPEM Definition Approved Yes No
World
 

 

 
Term proposed, definition in progress No No
World Representation World representations of an agent - or beliefs - concern other agents (its social environment), the physical environment or the agent itself. The agent must always be able to access these representations to decide of its behaviour and, possibly, it must be able to modify them.
 

 
Definition Submitted No No