Commitments capture how an agent relates to another agent, whereas goals describe states of the world that an agent is motivated to bring about. Commitments are elements of the social state of a set of agents whereas goals are elements of the private states of individual agents. It makes intuitive sense that goals and commitments are understood as being complementary to each other. More importantly, an agent’s goals and commitments ought to be coherent, in the sense that an agent’s goals would lead it to adopt or modify relevant commitments and an agent’s commitments would lead it to adopt or modify relevant goals. However, despite the intuitive naturalness of the above connections, they have not been adequately studied in a formal framework. This article provides a combined operational semantics for goals and commitments by relating their respective life cycles as a basis for how these concepts (1) cohere for an individual agent and (2) engender cooperation among agents. Our semantics yields important desirable properties of convergence of the configurations of cooperating agents, thereby delineating some theoretically well-founded yet practical modes of cooperation in a multiagent system.
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