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Agent Orientation

and

Information Systems

Eric Yu

University of Toronto



Presentation at Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

July 8, 1999


@ Eric Yu 1999

2

Information Systems research at the

University of Toronto


Dept. of Computer Science


Databases, Information Systems


Artificial Intelligence, Knowledge Rep.


Software Engineering, Requirements Eng.


Dept. of Industrial Engineering


Faculty of Management


Faculty of Information Studies



Knowledge Media Design Institute



@ Eric Yu 1999

3

Outline of this talk

1. An Emerging Paradigm in Computing



2. Agent Orientation for Enterprise Information Systems?


3. An Agent
-
Oriented Modelling Framework
i*



4. Research Directions


@ Eric Yu 1999

4

AOIS workshop


@ AutonomousAgents’99 Seattle USA May 1, 1999


@ CAiSE*99 Heidelberg Germany June 14
-
15, 1999


Invited speakers


Katia Sycara (Carnegie
-
Mellon Univ.)


Mike Huhns (Univ. S.Carolina)


John Mylopoulos (Univ. Toronto)


Cristiano Castelfranchi (Psych., NRC, Italy)


Stefan Kirn (TU
-
Ilmenau, Germany)


2 panels, 9 contributed papers





http://aois.org

@ Eric Yu 1999

5

Part 1



Agent
-
Orientation as an emerging

paradigm in Computing


Programming Paradigms


Agent Abstractions


Agent Architectures

6

Programming Paradigms


1950’s
--

Machine and assembly language


1960’s
--

Procedural programming


1970’s
--

Structured programming


1980’s
--

Object
-
based and declarative programming


1990’s
--

Frameworks, design patterns, scenarios, protocols, and
components (ActiveX/COM and Java Beans)

The trend has been from elements that represent abstract
computations to elements that represent the real world

[Huhns AOIS’99]

7

Features of

Languages and Paradigms

Concept

Procedural Language

Object Language

Multiagent Language

Abstraction

Building Block

Computation model

Design Paradigm

Architecture


Modes of Behavior

Terminology

Type

Instance, Data

Procedure/Call

Tree of procedures

Functional decomposition


Coding

Implement

Class

Object

Method/Message

Interaction patterns

Inheritance and


Polymorphism

Designing and using

Engineer

Society, Team

Agent

Perceive/Reason/Act

Cooperative interaction

Managers, Assistants,


and Peers

Enabling and enacting

Activate

[Huhns AOIS’99]

@ Eric Yu 1999

8

Agent Abstractions


Agent abstractions are mentalistic


beliefs
: agent’s representation of the world


knowledge
: (usually) true beliefs


desires
: preferred states of the world


goals
: consistent desires


intentions
: goals adopted for action


Multi
-
agent

abstractions involve interactions


social
: about collections of agents


organizational
: about teams and groups


ethical
: about right and wrong actions


legal
: about contracts and compliance

[Huhns AOIS’99]

@ Eric Yu 1999

9

Why Do These Abstractions Matter?


Because modern applications go beyond
traditional metaphors and models in terms of their
dynamism, openness, and trustworthiness


virtual enterprises
: manufacturing supply
chains, autonomous logistics


electronic commerce
: utility management


communityware
: social user interfaces


problem
-
solving

by teams

[Huhns AOIS’99]

@ Eric Yu 1999

10

Agent architectures

Agent

Architectures

Reactive

Agents

Hybrid

Agents

Other

Approaches

Interacting

Agents

Deliberative

Agents

[Kirn AOIS’99]

@ Eric Yu 1999

11

Reactive Agents

World

S

e

n

s

o

r

E

f

f

e

c

t

o

r

Pattern 1

Pattern 2

Pattern n

Plan 1

Plan 2

Plan n

.

.

.

.

.

.

Stimuli

Plans

Controller

Agent

[Kirn AOIS’99]

@ Eric Yu 1999

12

Deliberative Agents

World

S

e

n

s

o

r

E

f

f

e

c

t

o

r

Agent

Memory

Environment

Model

Domain

Knowledge

Cognition

Goals

Utility

Function

Inter
-

pretation

Planner

Inference

Strategies

[Kirn AOIS’99]

@ Eric Yu 1999

13

Types of Information Agents


“Standard”
information agents
and architectures are
becoming available

Ontology Agent

Application

Program

Mediator

Agent

Broker

Agent

Database Resource Agent

Database Resource Agent

Query or

Update

In SQL

Reply

Reg/Unreg

(KQML)

Reg/Unreg

(KQML)

Reg/Unreg

(KQML)

Mediated

Query (SQL)

Reply

Schemas

(CLIPS)

Reply

Mediated

Query (SQL)

Ontology

(CLIPS)

User Interface

Agent

Reply

Reg/Unreg

(KQML)

[Huhns AOIS’99]

@ Eric Yu 1999

14

Part 2



Agent
-
Orientation for
Enterprise
Information Systems


The Changing Nature of Enterprise


The Challenge for Enterprise Systems


Why Agent
-
Orientation for Enterprise Systems

@ Eric Yu 1999

15

The Changing Nature of Enterprise


distributed and networked


people, organization, and work practices, not
just the technology!


diversity, local autonomy, open
-
endedness


much uncertainty, incomplete knowledge &
control


need flexibility


change and evolution


constantly and rapid

@ Eric Yu 1999

16

The Challenge for Enterprise Systems


need to deal with conflicting needs and demands
from many players / stakeholders

From

Integration

to

Cooperation

Full

Integration

Autonomous

Islands

Cooperation

“working together”

@ Eric Yu 1999

17

Why Agent
-
Orientation for
Enterprise Information Systems


Agent orientation addresses the demands and
challenges of new enterprise environments and
systems


What would it mean?




We should develop
Agent
-
Oriented
...


requirements engineering techniques, models


design and architectural approaches


implementation methods and technologies


run
-
time and evolution support

@ Eric Yu 1999

18

Part 3


An Agent
-
Oriented Modelling
Framework
i*


Understanding “Why”


intentionality


Strategic Dependencies


Strategic Rationales


Analysis and Design Support


Knowledge Representation

@ Eric Yu 1999

19

Modelling for Enterprise Systems


It is well
-
recognized that many types of
modelling are required to deal with the various
aspects of enterprise, e.g.,


activity modelling


function modelling


resource modelling


information modelling


organization modelling


e.g., CIMOSA, GERAM,...



@ Eric Yu 1999

20

Towards richer organization
modelling


How do we express and reason about


motivations


rewards


different ways for achieving objectives


understanding “
why



opportunities and vulnerabilities



strategic

business and social
relationships

@ Eric Yu 1999

21

Consider one very successful
enterprise...


important organizational and social

aspects are missing in conventional models

@ Eric Yu 1999

22

Modelling Strategic Actor
Relationships and Rationales




-

the

i*

modelling framework





have goals, beliefs, abilities, commitments


depend on each other for goals to be achieved,
tasks to be performed, resources to be furnished


are semi
-
autonomous
--

not fully knowable /
controllable


@ Eric Yu 1999

23

Wants and Abilities


I want

...

I can

provide

...

@ Eric Yu 1999

24

A Strategic Dependency Model


actor

goal dependency

task dependency

resource dependency

softgoal dependency

LEGEND

@ Eric Yu 1999

25

Roles, Positions, Agents


A Strategic Dependency
model showing reward
structure for improving
performance, based on an
example in [Majchrzak96]

agent

position

role

LEGEND

@ Eric Yu 1999

26

Some strategic dependencies between
IKEA and its customers


@ Eric Yu 1999

27

A Strategic Rationale Model


@ Eric Yu 1999

28

Analysis and Design Support


opportunities and vulnerabilities


ability, workability, viability, believability


insurance, assurance, enforceability


node and loop analysis
[Yu ICEIMT’97]


design issues


raising, evaluating, justifying, settling


based on qualitative reasoning

[Chung Nixon Yu Mylopoulos, forthcoming monograph]

@ Eric Yu 1999

29

Means
-
Ends Analysis

Settle

claim

Verify

policy

Claims

Handling

Handle

claim

Settlement

cost?

Prepare

offer

Whose

fault?

Get accident

info

Determine

fault

Police

Witness

Doctor

Appraiser

Determine

cost to settle

Accident

info

Sufficient

treatment

Injury

info

Appraise

damage

Minimal

repairs

D

D

D

D

D

Actor

boundary

[Mylopoulos AOIS’99]

@ Eric Yu 1999

30

Sample
i*

representation for an actor
(in
Telos
)


TELL Class Physician IN PositionClass


ISA ProfessionalPosition WITH

resDepends, committedTo


fs: FeeForTreatment WITH


dependee cm:ClaimsManager end

goalDepended, commitsTo


td: $Treated(p.injury)$ WITH


depender p:Patient end

taskDepends, committedTo


tm: TakeMedication(p.med) WITH


dependee p:Patient end

covers


tp: TreatingPatient(p)


bi: Billing(p.insurCo)

integrityConstraint


correctClaimsManager:


$cm=p.insurCo.claimsMgr$

end

@ Eric Yu 1999

31

The Strategic Rationale Model

-

a partial schema

Tit le:
Creator:
idraw
Prev iew:
This EPS pict ure was not saved
wit h a prev iew included in it.
Comment:
This EPS pict ure will print to a
Post Script print er, but not t o
ot her t ypes of print ers.
@ Eric Yu 1999

32

Contributions


new ontology


new types of reasoning


applied to business process modelling, enterprise
modelling, requirements engineering, software
process, organization analysis


Some applications by external groups


software maintenance domain [Briand95, 97]


CIM [Petit98]

@ Eric Yu 1999

33

Ongoing Work


formal knowledge representation using a
conceptual modelling language
Telos


tool building
-

GUI, repository support


knowledge libraries


strategic knowhow


case
-
based reasoning


patterns


case studies


coordination with other modelling techniques


@ Eric Yu 1999

34

Related Work


Goal
-
Oriented and Agent
-
Oriented Requirements
Engineering (e.g., Feather87, Dardenne93,
Chung93, Bubenko93, Dubois94, Anton97)

see also ISRE, ICRE, RE j., REFSQ.


CSCW, groupware, workflow, COOCS (now
GROUP)


Enterprise Integration (e.g., ICEIMT)


AI, Distributed AI


Organization Theories

@ Eric Yu 1999

35

Part 4



Research Directions

#1 Requirements
-
Driven Information Systems
Engineering
(J. Mylopoulos, E. Yu)


#2 Cooperative Information Systems

(G. DeMichelis, E. Dubois, M. Jarke, F. Matthes, J. Mylopoulos,

M. Papazoglou, J. Schmidt, C. Woo, E. Yu)


#3 Intentionality Management
(E. Yu)


@ Eric Yu 1999

36

Research Direction #1

Requirements
-
Driven Information
System Engineering


Traditionally,

IS

Engineering

has

been

implementation
-
driven
.


This

means

that

the

programming

paradigm

of

the

day

dictated

the

design

and

requirements

paradigms
.



So,

structured

programming

led

to

structured

design

and

(requirements)

analysis,

while

object
-
oriented

programming

led

to

object
-
oriented

design

and

analysis
.

What would

requirements
-
driven

IS Engineering look like??

[Mylopoulos AOIS’99]

@ Eric Yu 1999

37

Why Requirements
-
Driven?


Requirements analysis is arguably the most important phase of
information system development; that’s where the most and the
costliest errors are introduced in software systems.



The

importance

of

detailed

design

and

implementation

will

wear

off

over

time,

thanks

to

software

reuse,

COTS

and

the

like
;

requirements

analysis

will

always

be

there

and

will

always

be

important
.



Requirements

analysis

is

the

phase

where

technology

meets

the

real

world,

where

technical

considerations

have

to

be

balanced

against

personal,

organizational

and

social

ones
;

this

calls

for

special

skills

on

the

part

of

the

requirements

engineer,

and

makes

the

phase

particularly

challenging
.

[Mylopoulos AOIS’99]

@ Eric Yu 1999

38

Where Are We??



i*

KAOS

Z

UML

Agent
-
oriented

programming

[Mylopoulos AOIS’99]

@ Eric Yu 1999

39

Where Do We Want To Be??



i*

Agent
-
oriented

programming

Guiding Principle: Push concepts as far down as
possible (…and see what happens!)

[Mylopoulos AOIS’99]

@ Eric Yu 1999

40

Research Direction #2

Cooperative Information Systems

“Cooperative Information Systems: A Manifesto”


G. DeMichelis, E. Dubois, M. Jarke, F. Matthes, J. Mylopoulos, M.
Papazoglou, K. Pohl, J. Schmidt, C. Woo, E. Yu


in
Cooperative Information Systems: Trends and
Directions
,
M. Papazoglou and G. Schlageter (eds).

Academic Press, 1997
.

“A three
-
faceted view of information systems”

G. DeMichelis, E. Dubois, M. Jarke, F. Matthes, J. Mylopoulos,

J. Schmidt, C. Woo, E. Yu.

Communications of the ACM,
December 1998.

@ Eric Yu 1999

41

When is an IS
cooperative
?

“An information system is cooperative if it
shares
goals
with other agents in its environment, such as
other information systems, human agents and the
organization itself, and
contributes

positively
towards the fulfillment of these common goals.”

@ Eric Yu 1999

42

Three Facets of

“Working Together”

Group

Collaboration

Facet

Organizational

Facet

Systems

Facet

@ Eric Yu 1999

43

Complementarity of...





Organizational Facet and

Group Collaboration Facet

E
x
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@ Eric Yu 1999

44

Towards a generic architecture

for Cooperative Information Systems

Group
Collaboration
Facet
Organizational
Facet
Systems Facet
Base Layer
Cooperation
Support Layer
base layer system
systems coop. support agent
organizational coop. support agent
group coop. support agent
multi-facet coop. support agent
repository
@ Eric Yu 1999

45

Research Direction #3

Intentionality Management


Beyond information management


managing the networks of intentional attitudes
and relationships


goals, beliefs, wants,
abilities, commitments, …


managing choice, decision making, uncertainty,
openness and freedom


is an elaboration on an important aspect of
“knowledge management”


@ Eric Yu 1999

46

Intentionality Management (cont’d)


Software development is but
one

example of
“intentionality
-
intensive” work environments.


other examples: enterprise management, virtual
enterprise, product design/development,
“knowledge work” in general, ...



@ Eric Yu 1999

47

Summary and Conclusions


We are at the threshold of a new era for computing.


Agent
-
Orientation

will give us


(not only) more powerful computing technologies


(but also) more effective computing that will
better
meet enterprise and human needs


through
use of
social organization

paradigm for
computing


and
incorporation of
social organizational

analysis into overall framework for modelling
analysis, and design

@ Eric Yu 1999

48

Sponsors and Partners


Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council
of Canada (NSERC)


Communications and Information Technology
Ontario (CITO)


Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Systems (IRIS)


Mitel Corporation


IBM


For further information and references, please see




http://www.fis.utoronto.ca/~yu