Formalizing the Cooperative Problem Solving Process

Michael Wooldridge and Nicholas R. Jennings

One objective of distributed artificial intelligence research is to build systems that are capable of cooperative problem solving. To this end, a number of implementationoriented models of cooperative problem solving have been developed. However, mathematical models of social activity have focussed only on limited aspects of the cooperative problem solving process: no mathematical model of the entire process has yet been described. In this paper, we rectify this omission. We present a preliminary model that describes the cooperative problem solving process from recognition of the potential for cooperation through to team action. The model is formalised by representing it as a theory in a quantified multi-modal logic. A key feature of the model is its reliance on the twin notions of commitments and conventions; conventions (protocols for monitoring commitments) are formalised for the first time in this paper. We comment on the generality of the model, outline its deficiencies, and suggest some possible refinements and other future areas of research.


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