Society Visualiser

Specifying norm-governed computational societies. Electronic markets, dispute resolution and negotiation protocols are three types of application domains that can be viewed as open agent societies. Key characteristics of such societies are agent heterogeneity, conflicting individual goals and unpredictable behavior. Members of such societies may fail to, or even choose not to, conform to the norms governing their interactions. It has been argued that systems of this type should have a formal, declarative, verifiable, and meaningful semantics. We present a theoretical and computational framework being developed for the executable specification of open agent societies. We adopt an external perspective and view societies as instances of normative systems. In this article, we demonstrate how the framework can be applied to specifying and executing a contract-net protocol. The specification is formalized in two action languages, the C+ language and the Event Calculus, and executed using respective software implementations, the Causal Calculator and the Society Visualizer. We evaluate our executable specification in the light of the presented case study, discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the employed action languages for the specification of open agent societies.