When designing Multi-Agent Systems (MAS), agent interaction constitute one of the angular stones in the system. It has to be defined in such a way that agent behaviour is restricted enough so that the system meets the design requirements and yet it should be flexible enough to guarantee agents’ autonomy. Norms (together with related concepts such as laws, social conventions and rules) have proven to be an agent coordination mechanism that meets these design requirements.
The research area of Normative Multi-Agent Systems studies how to endow MAS with norms. It encompasses a wide range of research approaches that go from theoretical formalisations to operational specifications down to domain specific implementations. Nevertheless, inherent MAS dynamics can become rather complex, and thus, defining norms may not be a straightforward task. Typically, the norm synthesis problem has been tackled both off-line and on-line (i.e., along system’s execution). In this tutorial we will briefly introduce Normative Multi-Agent systems. We will then present different on-line norm mechanisms from the literature such as norm emergence, norm agreement, norm detection or norm signalling. And then we will focus in norm synthesis. Students will be able to see in detail an on-line automatic norm synthesis process and its application to two different domain scenarios. This work follows an agent based simulation approach and its code is publicly available. Thus, those students that preinstall it will be able to follow a hands-on activity.
The tutorial will be divided in four main modules:
- Module 1: Introduction and Motivation. MAS Design considerations. Norms, laws, social conventions and rules as agent coordination mechanisms.
- Module 2: State of the art. Formal off-line approaches to norm synthesis. On-line approaches: norm emergence, norm agreement, norm detection or norm signaling.
- Module 3: On-line automatic norm synthesis. Description of some cutting edge research works and their comparison.
- Module 4: Demo and hands-on activity. Agent Based Simulation. Guided demo of the presented on-line automatic norm synthesis process. Optional code execution on the Repast platform.