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Last modified: March 26, 2002
Agent-Oriented Rule Markup Language (AORML)

[March 26, 2002] The AORML is based on the Agent-Object-Relationship (AOR) metamodel described by Gerd Wagner where business rules may be formalized as integrity constraints, or derivation rules [also called 'deduction rules' or 'inference rules'], or reaction rules [also called 'event-condition-action rules', or 'production rules', or 'triggers']." See the references for publications of the metamodel. "The AORML project is being carried out at the I&T Department of the Eindhoven University of Technology by G. Wagner. It is part of the RuleML initiative that is a joint effort to contribute to the vision of the Semantic Web. Reaction rules are the most important type of expression for formalizing business rules. They allow to specify the reactive and communicative behavior of a system..." [website description]

Terms and concepts underlying 'Business Rules and Business Processes': "The term business rule can be understood both at the level of a business domain and at the operational level of an information system. The more fundamental concept are business rules at the level of a business domain. In many cases, they can be automated by implementing them in an information system, preferably in the form of an declarative specification. Business rules define and control business processes. Business rules are statements that express (certain parts of) a business policy, defining or constraining certain aspects of an enterprise (such as the business terms forming the basis of the business language of an enterprise, or the behavior of business agents) in a declarative manner (not describing/prescribing every detail of their implementation). An important function of business rules consists of their potential use for implementing certain kinds of support of business goals. Business rules may be strict or defeasible (allowing exceptions). A business process is a social interaction process for the purpose of doing business. An interaction process is a sequence of events, actions and activities perceived and performed by agents, following a set of rules, or protocol, that is governed by norms, and that specifies the type of the interaction process..."

From "The Agent-Object-Relationship Meta-Model: Towards a Unified View of State and Behavior" (Gerd Wagner): "We present an agent-oriented approach to the conceptual modeling of organizations and organizational information systems, called Agent-Object-Relationship (AOR) modeling, where an entity is either an agent, an event, an action, a claim, a commitment, or an ordinary object, and where special relationships between agents and events, actions, claims and commitments supplement the fundamental association, aggregation/composition and generalization relationship types of Entity-Relationship (ER) and UML class modeling. Business processes are viewed as social interaction processes emerging from the behavior of the participating agents. In the proposed approach, behavior is primarily modeled by means of interaction patterns expressed in the form of reaction rules that are visualized in interaction pattern diagrams. It is an option, though, to use UML activity, interaction and statemachine diagrams, in addition... We propose an elaborate conceptual framework for agent-oriented modeling that is based on a set of 19 ontological principles including those of ER modeling, and a corresponding diagram language. In this approach, an organization is viewed as an institutional agent defining the rights and duties of its internal agents that act on behalf of it, and being involved in a number of interactions with external (and internal) agents, while an organizational information system is viewed as an artificial internal agent possessing a global view of the organization and interacting both with internal and with external agents on behalf of the organization. We argue that AOR modeling oers a research perspective to conceptually integrate the static, dynamic and deontic aspects of organizations and organizational information systems... Similar to object', the term agent' denotes an abstraction that leads to more natural and more modular software concepts. It helps to capture more semantics about natural and artificial systems an information system has to represent and to interact with. We have presented an agent-oriented approach to state and behavior modeling that allows an integrated treatment of the static, dynamic and deontic aspects of these systems, and thus oers a methodology that is semantically richer than many other approaches. In future work we plan to extend the AOR metamodel by adding the meta-concepts of activities and goals. We also plan to develop a suitable method for agent-oriented requirements engineering. Furthermore, in an ongoing research project, we develop extensions and tools for modeling and running agent-based simulations based on the AOR metamodel.""

From "Agent-Oriented Business Rules: Deontic Assignments" (Gerd Wagner and Kuldar Taveter): "Business rules are statements that express a business policy, such as defining business terms, defining deontic assignments (of powers, rights and duties), and defining or constraining the operations of an enterprise, in a declarative manner. In this paper we focus on deontic assignments... Agent-Orientation is emerging as a new paradigm in software and information systems engineering. It offers a range of high-level abstractions that facilitate the conceptual and technical integration of communication and interaction with established information system technology. Agent-Orientation is highly significant for business information systems since business processes are driven by and directed towards agents (or actors), and hence have to comply with the physical and social dynamics of interacting individuals and institutions... While today's enterprise information system technology is largely based on the metaphors of data management and data flow, and is under pressure to adopt concepts and techniques from the highly successful object-oriented programming paradigm, Agent-Orientation emphasizes the fundamental role of actors/agents and their mental state, and of communication and interaction, for analyzing and designing organizations and organizational information systems. This turns out to be crucial for a proper understanding of business rules. Since these rules define and constrain the interactions among business agents, they have to refer to the components of their mental state, such as the knowledge/information and the commitments of an organization. We attempt to show that our agent-oriented approach, that is based on the Agent-Object-Relationship (AOR) metamodel proposed in [refs], allows to capture more of the dynamic and deontic semantics of enterprise modeling than object-oriented modeling approaches, such as the UML, do. Taking into account that the main motivation for object-oriented modeling stems from software engineering and not from enterprise modeling, or cognitive modeling, this should not be surprising... In Section 2, we review the relevant literature on business rules, and present our own definitions of business rules and business processes. In Section 3, we review the Agent-Object-Relationship (AOR) metamodel which we use as the basis of our agent-oriented approach to business rules, in general, and to deontic assignments, in particular. Finally, in Section 4, we discuss the formalization and visualization of deontic assignments on the basis of the AOR metamodel."


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