Tutorial: Social Laws for Multi-Agent Systems

Social laws (or normative systems) have emerged as a natural and powerful paradigm for coordinating multi-agent systems. Thomas Ågotnes (Bergen), Wiebe van der Hoek and Mike Wooldridge (Liverpool) will give a full-day tutorial on social laws for multi-agent systems at the 11th International Conference on Agents and Multi-Agent Systems (AAMAS 2012) in Valencia on Monday 4 June 2012.

Social laws (or normative systems) have emerged as a natural and powerful paradigm for coordinating multi-agent systems. The social laws paradigm exposes the whole spectrum between fully centralised and fully decentralised coordination mechanisms. A social law is, intuitively, a constraint on the behaviour of agents, which ensures that their individual behaviours are compatible. Typically, a social law is imposed off-line, minimising the chances of on-line conflict or the need to negotiate. The tutorial gives an overview of the state-of-the-art in the use of social laws in multi-agent systems.

It discusses questions such as: how can a social law that ensures some particular global behaviour be automatically constructed? If two social laws achieve the same objective, which one should we use? How can we construct a social law that works even if some agents do not comply? Which agents are most important for a social law to achieve its objective? It turns out that to answer questions like these, we can apply a suit of tools available from the interdisciplinary tool chest of multi-agent systems. The tutorial also gives instruction in research practices and methodology in multi-agent systems: what are key research questions of interest, and what are some of the most important methods employed in this interdisciplinary field?

Content outline:

  1.  State transition models for Multi-Agent Systems

  2.  Social laws for coordination

  3.  Choosing `good' social laws

  4.  Dealing with non-compliance

  5.  Coordinating self-interested agents

  6.  Social laws design as an optimisation problem

  7. Reasoning about social laws

For more information see here.