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Last update at August, 10rd, 2005

On the convergence of retrieval, structured search and trust in distributed systems
Karl Aberer (EPF Lausanne, Switzerland)
The database and information retrieval communities have long been recognized as being irreconcilable. Today, however, we witness a surprising convergence of the techniques used by both communities in decentralized, large-scale environments. The newly emerging field of reputation based trust management, borrowing techniques from both communities, best demonstrates this claim. We argue that incomplete knowledge and increasing autonomy of the participating entities are the driving forces behind this convergence, pushing the adoption of probabilistic techniques typically borrowed from an information retrieval context. We argue that using a common probabilistic framework would be an important step in furthering this convergence and enabling a common treatment and analysis of distributed complex systems. We will provide a first sketch of such a framework and illustrate it with examples from our previous work on information retrieval, structured search and trust assessment.
Semantic Methods for Peer-To-Peer Query Routing
Steffen Staab (U Koblenz, Germany)
Knowledge sharing in a virtual organization requires a knowledge life cycle including knowledge provisioning, terminology alignment, determination of resource location, query routing, and query answering. In this talk we focus on the issue of determining a relevant resource in a completely decentralized setting such as necessitated by peer-to-peer knowledge management in virtual organizations. Requirements for this task include, e.g., full autonomy of peers as well as full control over own resources and therefore preclude prominent resource location and query routing schemes such as distributed hash tables. In order to tackle given requirements we use a resource location and query routing approach that exploits social metaphors of topical experts and experts' experts as well as semantic similarity of queries and information sources. The approach has been fully tested in simulation runs and partially implemented in the system Bibster (http://bibster.semanticweb.org).
Programming Cognitive Agents
John-Jules C. Meyer (U Utrecht, The Netherlands)
Although there is a lot of theory around about cognitive agents since the seminal work by researchers such as Bratman, Cohen & Levesque, Rao & Georgeff, practice of programming 'truly' cognitive agents is still in its infancy. Of course, several architectures have been proposed and even occasionally been implemented, and there is a prospect of many potential applications of agent-based systems, but is there a truly systematic way of programming agents with cognitive / mental attitudes such beliefs, desires, intentions, goals, plans, commitments, emotions...? We believe that for this dedicated agent-oriented languages are needed. A number of these have been developed in the last decade or so. But programming in them is still hard. Is there a methodology for agent-oriented programming? Can one structure agent programs better making use of cognitive notions? And how to verify that an agent program is correct? And how is this combined with programming *multi*-agent systems and agent societies where coordination of these autonomous agents and more generally social notions such as norms seem most important? In this talk a number of these issues will be discussed on the basis of work done in Utrecht around the agent language 3APL.
Emergent Semantics in Multi-Agent Systems
Luc Steels (SONY Computer Science Lab Paris and Free University of Brussels (VUB))
The talk presents recent research showing how a population of distributed autonomous agents might be able to self-organise a communication system without central control nor prior design. The agents engage in situated language games in which they negotiate not only the linguistic conventions they are going to use in their communication but also the underlying ontologies. I will also discuss applications of this techniques for peer-to-peer information exchange.