Internship proposal for Master students at École des Mines de Saint-Étienne

Semantic Multi-Agent Organisations for the Regulation of Hypermedia Communities of People and Autonomous Agents
Saint-Étienne, France
MINES Saint-Étienne, Institut Henri Fayol, ISI department
Internship grant (about 550 € per month)
Fields of activity:
Multi-agent systems, Semantic Web, hypermedia, socio-technical networks, semantic interoperability

Context, objective

The Web is pervasive, increasingly populated with inter-connected data, services, people and things. Empowering people through sophisticated social machines,11 the Web has to enlarge its scope to address hybrid communities10 in which intelligent agents (e.g., crawlers, bots, recommenders) collaborate with people as peers to help them cope with the ever growing number of available resources. As the Web continues to grow, it will continue to unlock practical uses that require increasingly autonomous, cooperative and long-lived agents operating on it.6 In this context, hypermedia, the engine of application state on the Web, will drive interaction among agents and people fueled by their autonomous and goal-directed behaviours. To ensure social order and global coherent behaviour, it is however important to complement this engine with regulation mechanisms to enforce and constrain actions in desired directions.

Regulation has been addressed by introducing policies targeting more the individual level in the Web domain and by norms, kind-of agreed policies targeting the social level in multi-agent systems.5 Policies on the Web have been discussed for a long time now. As stated by Daga,8 they have different meanings in relation to security and privacy,9 13 access and control,7 14 adaptable and context-aware systems to control the behaviour16 and expression of legal knowledge (terms and conditions licenses)3 (e.g., ODRL12). In the multi-agent domain, regulation has been studied to large extent in research on normative approaches,1 where regulative norms15 or prescriptions2 are generally used to specify who does what, in what context and as subject to what deontic modality (e.g., obligation, prohibition, permission). Regulative norms affect agent behaviour in an indirect manner so that agents can autonomously decide to conform or not to the prescriptive norms, for instance in order to balance internal motivation versus external consequences. To our knowledge, there does not exist yet a model that satisfies both domains.

Focusing on the organisation meta-model of the JaCaMo multi-agent framework,4 the aim of the project is to transform it in a Web readable format with ontologies complying to the Semantic Web standards, and to reuse already existing ontologies.

Based on the work initiated in 2012,17 we want to enrich the ontology for organisation specifications with the ontology to describe the organisation entities, that is, a description of the running organisation where agents are playing roles, executing missions, interacting altogether. Such descriptions will be provided as Web data as well, such that agents can uniformly query and reason about agent organisations, data and ontologies. Based on these representations, reasoning mechanisms can be leveraged in order to allow agents to check the consistency of the organisation structure, to infer new information from the existing state of the organisation. Ontologies will be used to provide a metamodel of the organisation as well as the organisation specifications, shared and distributed over the Web.

This internship takes place in the context of the ANR project HyperAgents.

To apply, send a CV, a motivation letter, grade transcripts, links to public professional profile, references, etc. to: Olivier Boissier (, Andrei Ciortea (, and Antoine Zimmermann (

Expected results

A large portion of the work will consist in analysing and understanding the bibliography in the aforementioned fields, especially representing and exploiting ontologies, policies, norms and multi-agent organisations. A formalism for representing such notions and the reasoning mechanisms behind, reusing existing work from the Semantic Web community, will be proposed.
A state of the art of related issues and problems. This work will be integrated in the JaCaMo framework and used as part of an application such as “personal assistant”, involving and integrating various services like calendars, online shopping, social networking.


  1. Giulia Andrighetto, Guido Governatori, Pablo Noriega, and Leon van der Torre (editors). Normative Multi-Agent Systems (Dagstuhl Seminar 12111). Dagstuhl Reports, volume 2, issue 3, pp 23–49, Schloss Dagstuhl–Leibniz-Zentrum fuer Informatik 2012.
  2. Tina Balke, Célia da Costa Pereira, Frank Dignum, Emiliano Lorini, Antonino Rotolo, Wamberto Vasconcelos, and Serena Villata. Norms in MAS: Definitions and Related Concepts. Dagstuhl Follow-up to Normative Multi-Agent Systems (Dagstuhl Seminar 12111), volume 4, pp 1–31, Schloss Dagstuhl–Leibniz-Zentrum fuer Informatik 2013.
  3. V. Richard Benjamins, Pompeu Casanovas, Joost Breuker, and Aldo Gangemi. Law and the Semantic Web, an Introduction. In V. Richard Benjamins, Pompeu Casanovas, Joost Breuker, Aldo Gangemi (editors): Law and the Semantic Web, Legal Ontologies, Methodologies, Legal Information Retrieval, and Applications, Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence, volume 3369, pp 1–17, Springer 2005.
  4. Olivier Boissier, Rafael H. Bordini, Jomi F. Hübner, Alessandro Ricci, and Andrea Santi. Multi-agent oriented programming with JaCaMo. Science of Computer Programming, volume 78, issue 6, pp 747–761, Elsevier 2013.
  5. Olivier Boissier, Marco Colombetti, Michael Luck, John-Jules Meyer, and Axel Polleres. Norms, organizations, and semantics. The Knowledge Engineering Review, volume 28, issue 1, pp 107–116, Cambridge University Press 2013.
  6. Andrei Ciortea, Simon Maier, Fabien Gandon, Olivier Boissier, Alessandro Ricci, and Antoine Zimmermann. A Decade in Hindsight: The Missing Bridge Between Multi-Agents Systems and the Word Wide Web. In Edith Elkind, Manuela Veloso, Noa Agmon, Matthew E. Taylor (editors): Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and MultiAgent Systems, AAMAS '19, Montreal, QC, Canada, May 13-17, 2019, pp 1659–1663, International Foundation for Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems 2019.
  7. Luca Costabello, Serena Villata, and Fabien Gandon. Context-Aware Access Control for RDF Graph Stores. In Luc De Raedt, Christian Bessiere, Didier Dubois, Patrick Doherty, Paolo Frasconi, Fredrik Heintz, Peter Lucas (editors): ECAI 2012 - 20th European Conference on Artificial Intelligence. 27-31 August 2012, Montpellier, France. , Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence and Applications, volume 242, pp 282–287, IOS Press 2012.
  8. Enrico Daga. Knowledge Components and Methods for Policy Propagation in Data Flows. PhD thesis, The Open University, UK, 2018.
  9. Carlos Flavián and Miguel Guinaliu. Consumer trust, perceived security and privacy policy: Three basic elements of loyalty to a web site. Industrial Management and Data Systems, voume 106, issue 5, pp 601–620, Emerald Group Publishing Ltd. 2006.
  10. Fabien Gandon, Michel Buffa, Elena Cabrio, Olivier Corby, Catherine Faron-Zucker, Alain Giboin, Nhan Le Thanh, Isabelle Mirbel, Peter Sander, Andrea Tettamanzi, and Serena Villata. Challenges in Bridging Social Semantics and Formal Semantics on the Web. In Slimane Hammoudi, José Cordeiro, Leszek A. Maciaszek, Joaquim Filipe (editors): Enterprise Information Systems, 15h International Conference, ICEIS 2013, Angers, France, July 4-7, 2013, Revised Selected Papers, Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing, pp 3–15, Springer 2013.
  11. James Hendler and Alice M. Mulvehill. Social machines: the coming collision of artificial intelligence, social networking, and humanity. Apress, 2016.
  12. Renato Iannella, Susanne Guth, Daniel Pähler, and Andreas Kasten. ODRL Version 2.1 Core Model. W3C ODRL Community Group final speification, 5 March 2015.
  13. Lalana Kagal, Tim Finin, Anupam Joshi. A Policy Based Approach to Security for the Semantic Web. In Dieter Fensel, Katia Sycara, John Mylopoulos (editors): The Semantic Web - ISWC 2003, Second International Semantic Web Conference, Sanibel Island, FL, USA, October 20-23, 2003. Proceedings, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, volume 2870, pp 402–418, Springer 2003.
  14. Sabrina Kirrane, Alessandra Mileo, and Stefan Decker. Access Control and the Resource Description Framework: A Survey. Semantic Web - Interoperability, Usability, Applicability, volume 8, number 2, pp 311–352, IOS Press 2017.
  15. Sascha Ossowski (editor). Agreement Technologies. Law, Governance and Technologies Series, volume 8, Springer 2012.
  16. Gianluca Tonti, Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, Renia Jeffers, Rebecca Montanari, Niranjan Suri, and Andrzej Uszok. Semantic Web Languages for Policy Representation and Reasoning: A Comparison of KAoS, Rei, and Ponder. In Dieter Fensel, Katia Sycara, John Mylopoulos (editors): The Semantic Web - ISWC 2003, Second International Semantic Web Conference, Sanibel Island, FL, USA, October 20-23, 2003. Proceedings, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, volume 2870, pp 419–437 Springer 2003.
  17. Alexandra-Mădălina Zarafin, Antoine Zimmermann, and Olivier Boissier. Integrating Semantic Web Technologies and Multi-Agent Systems: A Semantic Description of Multi-Agent Organizations. In Sascha Ossowski, Francesca Toni, George Vouros (editors): AT 2012 - Agreement Technologies, Proceedings of the First International Conference on Agreement Technologies, Dubrovnik, Croatia, October 15-16, 2012, CEUR Workshop Proceedings, volume 918, CEUR 2012.