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Knowledge sharing among ideal agents

Lomuscio, Alessio (1999)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

Multi-agent systems operating in complex domains crucially require agents to interact with each other. An important result of this interaction is that some of the private knowledge of the agents is being shared in the group of agents. This thesis investigates the theme of knowledge sharing from a theoretical point of view by means of the formal tools provided by modal logic. More specifically this thesis addresses the following three points. First, the case of hypercube systems, a special class of interpreted systems as defined by Halpern and colleagues, is analysed in full detail. It is here proven that the logic S5WDn constitutes a sound and complete axiomatisation for hypercube systems. This logic, an extension of the modal system S5n commonly used to represent knowledge of a multi-agent system, regulates how knowledge is being shared among agents modelled by hypercube systems. The logic S5WDn is proven to be decidable. Hypercube systems are proven to be synchronous agents with perfect recall that communicate only by broadcasting, in separate work jointly with Ron van der Meyden not fully reported in this thesis. Second, it is argued that a full spectrum of degrees of knowledge sharing can be present in any multi-agent system, with no sharing and full sharing at the extremes. This theme is investigated axiomatically and a range of logics representing a particular class of knowledge sharing between two agents is presented. All the logics but two in this spectrum are proven complete by standard canonicity proofs. We conjecture that these two remaining logics are not canonical and it is an open problem whether or not they are complete. Third, following a influential position paper by Halpern and Moses, the idea of refining and checking of knowledge structures in multi-agent systems is investigated. It is shown that, Kripke models, the standard semantic tools for this analysis are not adequate and an alternative notion, Kripke trees, is put forward. An algorithm for refining and checking Kripke trees is presented and its major properties investigated. The algorithm succeeds in solving the famous muddy-children puzzle, in which agents communicate and reason about each other's knowledge. The thesis concludes by discussing the extent to which combining logics, a promising new area in pure logic, can provide a significant boost in research for epistemic and other theories for multi-agent systems.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Ryan, Mark
School/Faculty:Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Computer Science
Department:Computer Science
Subjects:QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:514
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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