A Framework for Institutions Governing Institutions

Thomas King, Tingting Li, Marina De Vos, Virginia Dignum, Catholijn Jonker, Julian Padget, M. Birna van Riemsdijk

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter in a published conference proceeding

14 Citations (SciVal)


Norms guide multi-agent systems away from being potentially anarchic
towards a coordinated and collaborative society. Institutions
provide an explicit, external representation of norms as well as the
means to detect violations and other conditions. Each institution
can be crafted individually to capture their designers’ goals, but
this creates a challenge at higher levels of authority in guiding the
institutional design to be coordinated with other institutions and not
imposing unacceptable limits on agents’ rights. We propose to use
institutions to govern and to revise institutions, following a principle
widely encountered in the social world, where treaties, primary
legislation, framework agreements and subsidiarity establish a regulatory
space by defining norms on the form of a body of regulation.
We set out a formal and computational framework, building
on the InstAL model and implementation, to construct tiers of institutions,
where the norms at each tier are governed by those at the
tier above. Thus, agents’ behaviour is governed and monitored by
a tier-1 institution, whose norms are governed and monitored by a
tier-2 institution, etc.. This allows us to check the compliance of
an institution with the tier above. Compliance failure generates the
necessary negative examples for automatic norm-revision.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 14th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS2015)
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event14th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS2015) - Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 4 May 20158 May 2015


Conference14th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS2015)


  • normative systems
  • institutions
  • higher order norms
  • logic programming
  • knowledge representation


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