Normalized Interactions between autonomous agents
The CEC Project GOAL (Esprit 6283) aims to develop generic software tools to support a new project management paradigm, in which projects are collaborative, decentralised and inter-organizational. To support inter-organizational interaction, communication and cooperation, we are developing a design framework for formalizing the flow of information between organizations, specifying access to and provision of project services, and defining project-wide standards and procedures. This framework is based on normalizing interactions between autonomous software agents by specifying messages and protocols for inter-agent communication and cooperation. This paper reviews the framework, and then focusses on the specification and implementation of a case study, the automation of a distributed document review procedure. This is both a successful proof of concept and a demonstration of how Artificial Intelligence technologies can support inter-organizational project management. It also points the way to ‘agent brokering’, an enhancement of object brokering in distributed open systems, where the satisfaction of service requests can be subject to negotiation.