Document title:

Semantic Framework Work Plan

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(see authors below)

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Initial draft


FAB Comments (see end)


                  F G McCabe                                                                      Jeremy Pitt



This work plan is concerned with reframing the semantic framework for FIPA to reflect the needs of verifiability and conformance. In particular, the objective is to adopt or define a semantic framework that can give an account of FIPA’s existing CAs and IPs as well as a number of additional constructs such as contracts, agreements, policies, trust, agent descriptions and so on. It is important to note that actually developing the account of all of these is not part of this work plan: it is envisaged that subsequent work plan would address these specific areas. It is envisaged that any new semantic framework would focus on publicly visible behavior of agents and systems; not on internal mental models


Problem Statement:

The current semantic framework used to give a semantics for communicative acts and interaction protocols is based on explicit models of belief, desire and intent with an implicit model of commitment.


This has caused problems for the specifications generated by FIPA in three key areas: it is not possible to give an account – in the context of this semantic framework - of the various interaction protocols as specified by FIPA, it is not possible to give an account for verification of conformance to the semantic framework and the lack of explicit notions of commitment make it impossible to give an account for contracts, service level agreements and policies.


This has the effect of seriously weakening FIPA’s position as the 'owner' of agent interoperability.



This work plan has the following goals:

1.       Examine alternate types of semantic framework that may be more suitable for FIPA’s real objectives. In particular to examine the suitability of a semantic framework based on the AlfeBiite EU Project.


2.       Demonstrate how key FIPA Communicative Acts and Interaction Protocols may be accounted for in this semantic framework. Also, show how additional concepts not currently accounted for by FIPA’s semantics – such as contracts, agreements, policies, trust models – can be handled by the new semantic framework.


3.       Demonstrate how conformance tests of various FIPA specifications may be grounded in the semantic framework.



The primary sources of technology are FIPA’s existing semantic frameworks, as outlined in FIPA00037, together with work carried out elsewhere such as within the EU AlfeBiite project and other documented sources. The primary product of this work plan is expected to be a logical notation together with supporting formalizations that would form the foundation for FIPA’s semantic accounts of its specifications.


Documents Generated:

This work plan will create:

·         A document outlining the adopted semantic model to be used in accounting for FIPA specifications.

·         A document that outlines the approach to be taken to generate conformance tests to verify the behavior of agents as being consistent with the observable semantics of FIPA ACL and interaction protocols


Plan for Work:

Semantic framework

·         Issue a call for information for semantic frameworks that may be adopted by FIPA

·         Examine the AlfeBiite semantic frameworks

·         Prepare a document on adopted semantic framework


Major Use cases

·         Construct a semantic account of key CAs, Interaction Protocols, exemplar contracts and agreements and other key concepts that are fundamental to semantically grounded interoperating systems

·         Prepare a model for showing how conformance tests of FIPA specifications may be grounded in the semantic framework.



·         FIPA 23 – Initial meeting and preparation of call for information

·         FIPA 24 – Discussion of results of CFI and adoption of suitable semantic framework

·         FIPA 25 – Preliminary Semantic Framework Specification

·         FIPA 26 – Preliminary Conformance specification.

·         FIPA 27-28 Major specification documents approved for experimental status


It should be noted that we expect that significant work on these specifications will be required between FIPA meetings, possibly at interim meetings of the relevant TC.


Future Work:

         This work plan is not expected to give rise to new ACL specifications or IP specifications based on the semantic framework. However, this will need to be done; we envisage additional work plans that will be targeted at these and other specifications.


Dependencies: The specification will depend on FIPA ACL 2000 specifications.



·         Francis McCabe, Fujitsu

·         Jeremy Pitt, Imperial College

·         Steven Willmott, EPFL

·         Donald Steiner, WebV2

·         Bernard Burg, HP


FAB Comments:

This work plan has been approved and has been assigned to the Semantics Technical Committee.