Protocols of Peter McBurney

Some Protocols of Peter McBurney


This page lists agent interaction protocols which I have helped to develop. All material on this page, including downloadable documents and presentations, is copyright (Copyright Peter McBurney 1999-2016, inclusive). All rights are asserted and reserved. By downloading a file from this page, you agree to use it only for purposes of scholarship. Any other use of this material or storage of it in any medium or its sale or distribution is expressly forbidden without prior written permission.


The Fatio Protocol for Multi-Agent Argumentation

The Fatio Protocol permits agents to make, question, challenge and justify assertions, using an explicit argumentation theory. The locutions are based on a classification of utterances extending the classifications of John Austin, John Searle, and Jurgen Habermas. The protocol syntax has been given an axiomatic and operational semantics, in such a way as to make these locutions compatible with FIPA's agent communication language, FIPA ACL. In other words, agents engaged in communicative acts using FIPA ACL may simply add the Fatio locutions to the 22 FIPA locutions in order to support inter-agent argument.

The Fatio protocol was first presented at Agent Communications 2004, a refereed international workshop held in New York City in association with AAMAS 2004. The work was later published in revised form in the Springer volume of proceeedings of that workshop.

P. McBurney and S. Parsons [2004]: Locutions for argumentation in agent interaction protocols. pp. 209225 in: R. M. van Eijk, M-P. Huget and F. Dignum (Editors): Agent Communication. Revised Proceedings of the International Workshop on Agent Communication (AC2004), New York, NY, USA, July 2004. Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence volume 3396. Berlin, Germany: Springer.

The Fatio Protocol has since been applied to the problem of identifying and resolving conflicting routing policies of separate autonomous domains each using the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), at the Network Layer (Layer 3) of the standard Internet stack. See:

PA Kodeswaran, F Perich, WJ Li, A Joshi and T Finin [2010]: Enforcing secure and robust routing with declarative policies. In: Proceedings of the 2010 Military Communications Conference, October 2010.

PA Kodeswaran, A Joshi, T Finin and F Perich [2010]: A declarative approach for secure and robust routing. In: Proceedings of the 3rd ACM Workshop on Assurable and Usable Security Configuration, October 2010.


The Posit Spaces Negotiation Protocol

The Posit Spaces Protocol (PSP) permits agents to propose potential deals with multiple parties, and to respond to these proposals. It improves on similar efforts in the computer science literature in three ways: (a) by only allowing proposed deals to become binding upon acceptance of the proposal by all parties affected; (b) by permitting more than two parties to a deal; and (c) by drawing together three strands of prior work: Hamblin's dialogue game theory from the philosophy of argumentation, Gelernter's tuple-spaces theory from distributed computing, and Singh's theory of commitments from multi-agent communications. The protocol uses a stratified tuple-spaces architecture, and we articulate both a complete syntax and a private axiomatic semantics for the protocol.

P. McBurney and S. Parsons [2003]: The Posit Spaces Protocol for multi-agent negotiation. In: F. Dignum (Editor): Advances in Agent Communication. Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence 2922. Berlin, Germany: Springer.

An earlier version appeared as: P. McBurney and S. Parsons [2003]: Posit Spaces: a performative theory of e-commerce. In: J. S. Rosenschein, T. Sandholm, M. Wooldridge and M. Yokoo (Editors): Proceedings of the Second International Joint Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems (AAMAS-2003), pp. 624-631. New York, NY, USA: ACM Press.


A Protocol for Consumer Purchase Negotiation Dialogues

This protocol permits potential consumer agents, potential supplier agents, and broker agents to undertake transactions leading to consumer durable purchases. It draws on standard models of consumer durable purchases from marketing theory. We provide a complete syntax for the protocol, along with a public axiomatic semantics and an operational semantics.

P. McBurney, R. M. van Eijk, S. Parsons and L. Amgoud [2003]: A dialogue-game protocol for agent purchase negotiations. Journal of Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems, 7 (3): 235-273. [Postscript File]


A Protocol for Chance Discovery Dialogues

This protocol permits Inquiry dialogues where value criteria may be imposed over the outcomes of the Inquiries, for example, when searching for risks or opportunitities.

P. McBurney and S. Parsons [2001]: Chance discovery using dialectical argumentation. In: T. Terano, T. Nishida, A. Namatame, S. Tsumoto, Y. Ohsawa and T. Washio (Editors): New Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence: Joint JSAI 2001 Workshop Post Proceedings, pp. 414--424. Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence Vol. 2253. Berlin, Germany: Springer Verlag. [Postscript File]


A Protocol for Deliberation Dialogues

This protocol permits agents to engage in a dialogue over what actions to take in some circumstance, drawing on a theory of retroflexive argument due to Harald Wohlrapp. We present both the complete syntax and a public axiomatic semantics for the protocol. The protocol was presented initially at the Fourth Biennial Conference of the Ontario Society for the Study of Argumentation (OSSA 2001), and then a revised version published in Journal of Intelligent Systems in 2007.

D. Hitchcock, P. McBurney and S. Parsons [2001]: A framework for deliberation dialogues. In: H. V. Hansen, C. W. Tindale, J. A. Blair and R. H. Johnson (Editors): Argumentation and its Applications. Proceedings of the Fourth Biennial Conference of the Ontario Society for the Study of Argumentation (OSSA 2001).

P. McBurney, D. Hitchcock and S. Parsons [2007]: The eightfold way of deliberation dialogue. International Journal of Intelligent Systems, 22 (1): 95132.


A Protocol for Inquiry Dialogues

This protocol permits Inquiry dialogues between multiple agents, drawing on Marcello Pera's dialectical philosophy of science. We present both the complete syntax and a public axiomatic semantics for the protocol.

P. McBurney and S. Parsons [2001]: Representing epistemic uncertainty by means of dialectical argumentation. Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence, 32 (1-4): 125-169. [Postscript File]


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