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SweetDeal: Representing Agent Contracts With Exceptions using XML Rules, Ontologies, and Process Descriptions

Grosof, Benjamin and Poon, Terrence C., "SweetDeal: Representing Agent Contracts With Exceptions using XML Rules, Ontologies, and Process Descriptions" (July 2003). MIT Sloan Working Paper No. 4424-03. Available at SSRN:


    SweetDeal is a rule-based approach to representation of business contracts that enables software agents to create, evaluate, negotiate, and execute contracts with substantial automation and modularity. It builds upon the situated courteous logic programs knowledge representation in RuleML, the emerging standard for Semantic Web XML rules. Here, we newly extend the SweetDeal approach by also incorporating process knowledge descriptions whose ontologies are represented in DAML+OIL (the close predecessor of W3C's OWL, the emerging standard for Semantic Web ontologies), thereby enabling more complex contracts with behavioral provisions, especially for handling exception conditions (e.g., late delivery or non-payment) that might arise during the execution of the contract. This provides a foundation for representing and automating deals about services - in particular, about Web Services, so as to help search, select, and compose them. We give a detailed application scenario of late delivery in manufacturing supply chain management (SCM). In doing so, we draw upon our new formalization of process ontology knowledge from the MIT Process Handbook, a large, previously-existing repository used by practical industrial process designers. Our system is the first to combine emerging Semantic Web standards for knowledge representation of rules (RuleML) with ontologies (DAML+OIL/OWL) with each other, and moreover for a practical e-business application domain, and further to do so with process knowledge. This also newly fleshes out the evolving concept of Semantic Web Services. A prototype (soon public) is running. e-business, information technologies
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