Title: Cooperating Agents: A Unified Theory of Communication and Social Structure

Author: Eric Werner, Ph.D.

Contact: eric.werner@cellnomica.com


We aim at providing a general theoretical framework for designing agents with a communicative and social competence. Thereby, we develop the foundations for the design of systems of agents that behave as a social unit or group. A unified theory of communication, cooperation, and social structure is presented. First, a theory of the cognitive states, the information and intentional states, of an agent is given. A theory of communication is developed that gives a formal account of how messages affect the intentions or plans of an agent. The theory of intentions is used to define the concepts of social role and social structure. The unified theory of communication,
intention, and social structures is used to develop a theory of social cooperation for multiagent systems. This fulfills a necessary condition for the design of complex agents that cooperate as a group. We apply the theories with an analysis of two examples: The contract net protocol and a Wittgensteinian language game.