Electronic Institutions

Electronic Institutions are a way to implement interaction conventions for agents - human or software - who can establish commitments on an open environment.


EIDE Interaction.


As the complexity of real-world applications increases, particularly with the advent of the Internet, there is a need to incorporate organisational abstractions into computing systems that ease their design, development, and maintenance. Electronic institutions are at the heart of this approach. Electronic institutions provide a computational analogue of human organisations in which intelligent agents playing different organisational roles interact to accomplish individual and organisational goals. In this scenario, agent technology helps enterprises reduce their operational costs and speed-up time to market by helping distributed business parties, represented by agents, run smoother and in a better coordinated fashion. Electronic institutions appear as the glue that puts together self-interested business parties, coordinating, regulating, and auditing their collaborations.

The Electronic Institutions Development Environment (EIDE) is a set of tools aimed at supporting the engineering of intelligent distributed applications as electronic institutions. Software agents appear as the key enabler technology behind the electronic institutions vision. Thus, electronic institutions encapsulate the coordination mechanisms that mediate the interactions among software agents representing different business parties. The EIDE allows for engineering both electronic institutions and their participating software agents. Notably, the EIDE moves away from machine-oriented views of programming toward organisational-inspired concepts that more closely reflect the way in which we may understand distributed applications. It supports a top-down engineering approach: firstly the organisation, secondly the individuals.

EIDE development cycle

The EIDE is composed of:

  • Islander: A graphical tool that supports the specification of the rules and protocols in an electronic institution.
  • aBuilder: Agent developmnet tool.
  • AMELI: Software platform to run electronic institutions. Once an electronic institution is specified with ISLANDER is ready to be run by AMELI without any programming.
  • OMS: Module to simulate electronic institutions.