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The problem of IP specification is not new to MAS developers, and a wide range of solutions have been proposed. We find, however, that there is a huge void between the existing proposals based on formal techniques, whose design is extremely complex (e.g. colored Petri nets), and the graphic notation-based techniques (e.g. AUML), which are devoid of precise semantics and rule out automatic specification exchange and interpretation for the purpose of specification simulation, validation and execution. The proposed framework intends to fill this gap by means of three interrelated views:

The modeling view eases the visual design of IP architecture by means of an AUML based graphic notation. The proposed notation extends existing AUML and furnishes this notation with formal semantics. This is essential for developing the specification view.

The specification view automatically outputs the syntactic specification of an IP from its architectural design as a declarative-type language called ACSL. This improves IP publication, localization and machine learning by agents. ACSL is an abstract syntax for which an XML grammar has been developed by means of the XML Schema formalism, in order to be able to validate the specifications syntactically, and to make easier their use in Internet environments.

The implementation view is based on the provision of formal and operational semantics for the ACSL language. The developed formal semantics allows us to verify the properties of the designed IPs, such as their termination in finite time, conversational state reachability or the absence of deadlocks or starvations. On the other hand, the developed structural operation semantics (SOS) automatically outputs code from the ACSL specification for the purpose of (1) simulating protocol execution at design time and (2) improving and assuring correct IP compliance at run time.

Figure 1 shows the products of the IP engineering process and the tools of the proposed framework. These tools allow: (1) the visual composition of IPs in AUML+ notation, (2) automatic ACSL specifications generation(using an XML grammar) for models built in AUML+, (3) the output of a semantic interpreter associated with these specifications, and (4) the generation, by means of code reflection techniques, of conversational proxies that improve IP compliance at run time.






  • Javier Soriano
  • Genoveva López

Research Assistants

  • Rafael Fernández
  • Miguel Jiménez
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