Levels of Help, Levels of Delegation and Agent Modeling

Christiano Castelfranchi and Rino Falcone

The huge majority of DAI and MA, CSCW and negotiation systems, communication protocols, cooperative software agents, etc. are based on the idea that cooperation works through the allocation of some task (or sub-task) of a given agent (individual or complex) to another agent, via some "request" (offer, proposal, announcement, etc.) meeting some "commitment" (bid, contract, adoption, etc.). This core constituent of any interactive, negotial, cooperative system is not so clear, well founded and systematically studied as it could seem. Our claim is that any support system for cooperation and any theory of cooperation require an analytic theoly of delegation and adoption. We will contribute to an important aspect of this theoo, with a plan-based analysis of delegation. In this paper we try to propose a foundation of the various levels of delegation and adoption (help), characterizing their basic principles and representations. We try also to identify different agent modeling requirements in relation to the different levels of delegation and/or adoption. We characterize the various levels of the delegationadoption relation (executive or open; implicit or explicit; on the domain or on the planning; etc.) on the basis of theory of plans, actions and agents. Our claim is that each level of task delegation requires specific beliefs (modeling) about both the delegate and the delegee.


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