This activity aims at describing communications among roles. A communication is an interaction between two or more roles where the content (language, ontology,and encoding) and the control of the communication (protocol) are explicitly detailed. A communication mainly consists of FIPA speech acts and protocols. The model of role communication we adopt is based on the assumption that two roles wishing to interact, share a common ontology. This common knowledge is represented in the communication by a set of Ontology elements. A communication is an interaction composed of several messages ordered by a Protocol. Each message underpins a specific communicative act (see [1] and FIPA speech acts [2,3]) and its content refers to one or more ontology elements. The message is encoded in a content language.


At this stage we could regard the previous studied interactions as messages and each set of interactions between two roles has to be clustered in one or more communications. This activity also describes data (it would better to say knowledge) structures required in each role to store exchanged data by adding the necessary ontological structure to roles. These structures are of course based on the elements of the solution ontology.


Contents

Goal

This activity aims at describing communications and conversations among roles in terms of ontology, interaction protocol and content language.


Input

The basis of this activity is the scenario description that precise the first set of interactions in which each role is involved. Then the solution ontology allowing to refine the relation between role and their associated knowledge (concepts in the ontology) enable the refinement of each interaction to determine if its conversation or a communication.


Output

Communication Ontological Description is depicted using a class diagram that shows roles and their communications. Interactions, previously identified during the IRI (Interactions and Roles Identification) and SD (Scenarios Description) activities are now clustered in conversation or communications and represented by an association. Attributes of each communication (Ontology) and each conversation (Ontology, Content Language, Interaction Protocol) are specified in an association class. Each conversation is oriented from the initiator of the conversation to the other participant roles.


MAS Meta-Model Elements

Define(Communication), Define(Conversation), Relate(Communication, Predicate), Relate(Communication, Concept), Relate(Communication, Action), Relate(Conversation, Protocol), Relate( Conversation, Language).


Work to be done

Each set of interactions between two roles has to be clustered in one or more communications/conversations. At this stage we could regard the previous studied interactions as messages of the communication/conversation. Interactions linking a boundary role to another boundary one are generally refined in communications (usually these interactions are mediated by the environment and therefore are not classical message-based conversations). They can be based on events or other stimuli sent from one role to the other. Interactions between classical (i.e. non-boundary) roles are refined in conversations with a defined protocol, a referred ontology and an associated content language. As a consequence in conversations, the sequence of messages will be ruled by a proper interaction protocol and the content will be related to the exchanged information or required exhibition of a capacity through an explicit reference to the adopted ontology. This is in accordance with the FIPA specifications (that we largely adopt), where conversations consist of speech acts. FIPA also specifies a relevant number of interaction protocols but a new one, if necessary, can be designed, see Protocol Description Activity.


This activity should also describe data structures required in each role to store exchanged data. These are based on the elements of the solution ontology.


References

[1] Speech Acts
J. Searle.
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 1969.
[2] FIPA Communicative Act Library Specification
Foundation For Intelligent Physical Agents.
Standard, SC00037J, 2002.
[3] FIPA ACL Message Structure Specification
Foundation For Intelligent Physical Agents.
Standard, SC00061G, 2002.
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