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On the Formal Semantics of Speech-Act Based Communication in an Agent-Oriented Programming Language

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Executive Summary

Research on agent communication languages has typically taken the speech acts paradigm as its starting point. Despite their manifest attractions, speech-act models of communication have several serious disadvantages as a foundation for communication in artificial agent systems. In particular, it has proved to be extremely difficult to give a satisfactory semantics to speech-act based agent communication languages. In part, the problem is that speech-act semantics typically make reference to the "Mental states" of agents (their beliefs, desires, and intentions), and there is in general no way to attribute such attitudes to arbitrary computational agents. In addition, agent programming languages have only had their semantics formalised for abstract, stand-alone versions, neglecting aspects such as communication primitives.

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