Proceedings of the Fifteenth International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI)

Semantics and Conversations for an Agent Communication Language


We address the issues of semantics and conversations for agent communication languages and the Knowledge Query Manipulation Language (KQML) in particular. Based on ideas from speech act theory, we present a semantic description for KQML that associates "cognitive" states of the agent with the use of the language's primitives (performatives). We have used this approach to describe the semantics for the whole set of reserved KQML performatives. Building on the semantics, we devise the conversation policies, i.e., a formal description of how KQML performatives may be combined into KQML exchanges (conversations), using a de finite clause grammar. Our research covers methods for a speech act theory-based semantic description of a language of communication acts and for the specification of the protocols associated with these acts. Languages of communication acts address the issue of communication among software applications at a level of abstraction that is useful to the emerging software agents paradigm.

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Morgan Kaufmann

Martha Pollack

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