STSM WG3 (Robrecht Haesevoets)

Start Date: 2010-01-16

End Date: 2010-01-31

Host Institution: Universiteit Utrecht

Host Country: The Netherlands

Home Institution: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Home Country: Belgium


In this short term scientific mission we aim to construct a formal underpinning for open negotiation protocols that are supported by a distributed organization middle-ware. An organization middle-ware offers support for dynamic collaborations, in addition to communication and coordination support, offered by state of the art middle-ware services. Our current distributed organization middle-ware encapsulates the management of organizations as a reusable service for agents. Starting from a formal specification of the middle-ware behavior in the Alloy specification language, we want to extend the organization middle-ware with support for open negotiation protocols.

Negotiation protocols are an important aspect of dynamic collaborations and agreement technologies. Within the domain of supply chain management, we look into open negotiation protocols, such as English and Dutch auctions, in which participants can enter and leave, and negotiation constraints can change at run-time. An example is the assignment of  transport tasks to different logistics providers. Middle-ware support consists of protocol mediation and management, including life-cycle management, such as setting-up and terminating protocols, and dealing with dynamics such as changing conditions and participants. Rigorous specification and formal underpinning of these protocols and their management is crucial for establishing trustworthy collaborations in practice and realizing the middle-ware support. During the visit we aim to realize the following steps:

-Extend our conceptual model of organizational abstractions to support middle-ware managed and mediated protocols.

-Create a formal specification of the protocol dynamics and their management.

-Apply our model to a real world scenario in the supply chain management domain.

The visit provides an excellent opportunity for Robrecht to work together with the researchers in Utrecht who have a strong background in formal models for agent organizations. On the other hand, the middle-ware perspective in Robrecht’s research will provide very interesting input for the researchers in Utrecht, since developing an organization middle-ware is one of the key objectives on their research agenda. As such, the visit will further enhance the collaboration among the two research groups.

STSM report