Archive for 2014

Norms and scenario alignment in organizations

Research Themes: Flexibility of Organizations, Processes, and Information Systems / Requirements, Models, and Specifications / Scenario development and Simulation

PROBLEM DESCRIPTION

Business rules and contracts are crucial artifacts for the definition of the organizational institution: they formally prescribe the roles of internal and of external components of the organization. On the other hand, user cases – concerning happy-flow activities and known failure scenarios – provide descriptive behavioural representations of the underlying socio-economic interactions.
Our group is currently working on leveraging interactional interpretations of the fundamental concepts at stake in normative expressions (obligation, power, etc., recently organized in the “Hohfeldian prisms”), in order to fill the gap between rules, business process models and intentional representations of behaviour.

We aim to introduce scenario-based modeling/design methodologies, already established in software and system engineering, in the IT & organization domain. Potential applications consist of integrating use-cases for policy/design validation, contract drafting and negotiation, failure (including fraud) prevention and detection, analysis of reward/punishment design patterns, etc. Part of the research is developed and tested in partnership with other organizations.

Given the complexity of the quest, various abstractions are possible, addressing different aspects of the problem. There is room for 5-6 students, with separate objectives and theses, but elaborating on the same conceptual framework. This is a not exhaustive list of topics concerning the research:

  • transformation of rule representations to visual representations (e.g. Petri-Nets)
  • integration of normative positions in Petri-Nets and in BPMN, and relative transformations
  • reconstructing Petri-Nets or BPMN from actual cases
  • conception of user-interfaces:
    • integrating the Hohfeldian prisms in contract modeling,
    • integrating the Hohfeldian prisms in scenario modeling,
  • integrating the intentional stance in scenario modeling
  • conception of an execution/visualization engine for scenarios
  • analysis and visualization of punishment and reward design patterns
  • analysis of the topological transformations of a Petri-Net (from cohesion to coupling)
  • transformations of topological representations to agent programs
  • evaluation of the proposed UI/visualizations with experts in organizations

The specific subject will depend on personal motivation, skills, and previous knowledge.

CONTACT PERSON(S)

Alexander Boer, a.w.f.boer@uva.nl, Leibniz Center for Law
Giovanni Sileno, g.sileno@uva.nl, Leibniz Center for Law

RELEVANT LITERATURE

  • Sileno, G., Boer, A., & van Engers, T. (2014). On the Interactional Meaning of Fundamental Legal Concepts. In Proceedings 27th International Conference on Legal Knowledge and Information Systems (JURIX 2014).
  • Boer, A., & Engers, T. (2013). Agile: a problem-based model of regulatory policy making. Artificial Intelligence and Law, 21(4), 399–423.
  • Sileno, G., Boer, A., & van Engers, T. (2014). From Inter-Agent to Intra-Agent Representations: Mapping Social Scenarios to Agent-Role Descriptions. In Proceedings 6th International Conference on Agents and Artificial Intelligence (ICAART 2014).
  • Boer, A., & van Engers, T. (2011). Diagnosis of Multi-Agent Systems and Its Application to Public Administration. In Business Information Systems Workshops (Vol. 97, pp. 258–269).
  • D. Harel and R. Marelly. Specifying and executing behavioral requirements: The play-in/play-out approach. Software and Systems Modeling, 82–107, 2003.
  • J.-F. Raskin, Y.-H. Tan, and L. van der Torre. How to model normative behavior in Petri nets. Proceedings of the 2nd ModelAge: Workshop on Formal Models of Agents, pages 223—241, 1996.
  • Van Der Aalst, W. M. P. (1998). The Application of Petri Nets To Workflow Management. Journal of Circuits, Systems and Computers, 08(01), 21–66.
  • Fahland, D., Lübke, D., & Mendling, J. (2009). Declarative versus imperative process modeling languages: The issue of understandability. Proceeding EMMSAD ’09. (2009) 353-366, 353–366.
  • T. Murata. Petri nets: Properties, analysis and applications. Proceedings of the IEEE, 77(4), 1989

Add comment December 20th, 2014

Cognitive agents platform to model complex social behaviour

Research Themes: Agent Programming / Programming languages / Agent-Based Modeling / Concurrent computation

PROBLEM DESCRIPTION

Current cognitive agents programming frameworks (ex. AgentSpeak/Jason, 2APL, Goal, etc.) mostly focus on the logical aspects associated to intentional entities, rather then the computational issues derived from concurrent execution. However, in principle, agents are entities that act concurrently in an environment (shared resources and infrastructures). Their internal cognitive processes may be concurrent as well. In the last months, few prototypes of these platforms have been built on top of functional programming languages, showing an enormous difference in efficiency, compared to the most known implementations, mostly implemented in Java.

On the other side, agent-based modelling frameworks like Repast, AgentScape, etc. refer to models of agents provided with basic rationality, usually not involving concepts like Beliefs-Desires-Intentions. Although there have been proposals in introducing these extensions, results seem to be not satisfactory, probably because of the high overload of these platforms. Furthermore, the configuration and exploitation of such applications still require skills that are not usual for non-IT researcher/practitioners, thus hampering specification by domain experts. Visual programming techniques may probably help in this respect.

Our project aims to develop a full framework for the acquisition, execution and exploitation of social institutional scenarios involving cognitive agents. The agents we are considering are fully non-reflective intentional agents. Their behaviour is deterministically defined according to a script, usually extrated from scenarios provided by experts. Conversely, the behaviour resulting from the interaction between several agents is not deterministic.

The underlying model we focus on is agent-role, which add intentionality to the role abstraction. The components of the agent-role model should be sufficient for a complete first-order theory of mind.

Given the complexity of the quest, various abstractions are possible, addressing different aspects of the problem. There is room for 3-4 students, with separate objectives and theses, but elaborating on the same conceptual framework. This is a not exhaustive list of topics concerning the research:

  • definition of agent-role model components:
    • intents, beliefs, reactive plans, maintenance goals, desires, etc.
    • speech acts: assertions, directives (questions, commands), commissives (not included in FIPA),
  • formal semantics and verification for an agent-role programming language,
  • transformation from visual models (e.g. Message Sequences Diagrams, adequately enriched with intentional components) to visual computational models (e.g. Petri Nets), and then in agent-role scripts,
  • development of an engine executing several concurrent agent-role scripts (e.g. to be run on a server),
  • development of an engine executing a defined scenario (e.g. to be run on a web-based client),
  • conception and development of user interface for an IDE tailored on agent and scenario modeling.

CONTACT PERSON(S)

Alexander Boer, a.w.f.boer@uva.nl, Leibniz Center for Law
Giovanni Sileno, g.sileno@uva.nl, Leibniz Center for Law

RELEVANT LITERATURE

  • Sileno, G., Boer, A., & van Engers, T. (2014). From Inter-Agent to Intra-Agent Representations: Mapping Social Scenarios to Agent-Role Descriptions. In Proceedings 6th International Conference on Agents and Artificial Intelligence (ICAART 2014).
  • Boer, A., & Engers, T. (2013). Agile: a problem-based model of regulatory policy making. Artificial Intelligence and Law, 21(4), 399–423.
  • D. Harel and R. Marelly. Specifying and executing behavioral requirements: The play-in/play-out approach. Software and Systems Modeling, 82–107, 2003.
  • Cohen, P. R., & Levesque, H. J. (1990). Intention is choice with commitment. Artificial Intelligence, 42(2-3), 213–261.
  • Rao, A. S. (1996). AgentSpeak (L): BDI agents speak out in a logical computable language. In Proc. of 7th European Workshop on Modelling Autonomous Agents in a Multi-Agent World.
  • Diaz, Á. F., Earle, C. B., & Fredlund, L. (2012). eJason: an implementation of Jason in Erlang. Tenth International Workshop on Programming Multi-Agent Systems – PROMAS 2012.
  • Harel, D., & Rumpe, B. (2000). Modeling Languages: Syntax, Semantics and All That Stuff, 1–28.
  • Best, E., Devillers, R., & Koutny, M. (1998). Petri nets, process algebras and concurrent programming languages. Lectures on Petri Nets II: Applications.

Add comment December 19th, 2014

SARNET: NWO grant for Internet Security

The University of Amsterdam has been awarded a grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) for the Security Autonomous Response NETworks project (SARNET). This project falls under the NWO Cyber Security programme, which seeks to increase the security of our digital society while at the same time addressing privacy concerns.

The SARNET project explores what is needed to provide an autonomous means of Internet security at the supra-company level. The research employs software-defined networking technology, with Internet provider networks and company networks working together on detection and defence. This means companies will be no longer be alone in their fight against cybercrime. When an attack is detected by a provider and/or company, protection will also be programmed at other companies and providers. This information technology allows SARNET to be jointly managed by Internet service providers and specialised companies.

The research is being conducted at the UvA, in the Informatics Institute, and involving the Leibniz Center for Law, while the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) and network manufacturer Ciena are working to put it into practice at Air France-KLM.

The SARNET grant is €680,000, of which €400,000 is funded by the NWO and the remainder by industrial partners KLM, CIENA and TNO.

Key assessment criteria were the scientific quality of the research proposal, the knowledge utilisation factor and the relevance of the research to the National Cyber Security Strategy (NCSRA-II). The NCSRA-II is part of the IT Roadmap of the government’s Top Sectors policy.

This research programme is part of the second investment round of the cyber security study. Financiers and initiators are the ministries of the Interior & Kingdom Relations, Defence, Economic Affairs, Finance, Infrastructure & the Environment and Security & Justice (coordinated by the Ministry of Economic Affairs), the Governing Board of the NWO and the NWO areas of Exact Sciences (EW), Social and Behavioural Sciences (MaGW), and the STW technology foundation.

Add comment July 7th, 2014

OpenLaws.eu

openlaws The Leibniz Center for Law, together with the Institute for Information Law (IViR) and international partners, obtained a European grant for the project OpenLaws.eu. Of the 96 proposals submitted, OpenLaws.eu finished first. The aim of the project is to use innovative resources to make law and legal information more accessible by linking and enrich these with metadata. The Leibniz Center for Law leads the consortium. Technical partners are the Fachhochschule Salzburg, Alpenite (IT) and BY WASS (Aus). IViR, together with Sussex University and the London School of Economics and Politics are responsible for the legal and economic aspects.

Add comment February 19th, 2014

Leibniz Center wins DG Justice project OpenLaws.eu

openlaws The Leibniz Center for Law, together with the Institute for Information Law (IViR) and international partners, obtained a European grant for the project OpenLaws.eu. Of the 96 proposals submitted, OpenLaws.eu finished first. The aim of the project is to use innovative resources to make law and legal information more accessible by linking and enrich these with metadata. The Leibniz Center for Law leads the consortium. Technical partners are the Fachhochschule Salzburg, Alpenite (IT) and BY WASS (Aus). IViR, together with Sussex University and the London School of Economics and Politics are responsible for the legal and economic aspects.

Add comment February 1st, 2014


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