An `AI in Design' View of Design

Conflict Resolution

If the system is distributed, can any conflicts occur?
How are the conflicts detected?

Discussion. One of the features of the distributed systems is that the agents may have knowledge which leads to conflicting decisions on common issues. The knowledge can express different points of view as well as perspectives from different domains. Conflicts have to be detected and handled to reach agreements [Klein 1991] [Lander 1997] [Lander & Lesser 1992] [Sycara 1991] [Werkman 1992]. Depending on the system architecture, the conflicts can be detected by the agents themselves. Another possibility is to have a centralized mechanism detect when different values are being proposed for the same parameter and notifies the agents involved about the existing difference.

What methods does the system use for solving the conflicts?

Discussion. Negotiation implies an information exchange (i.e., an argument) between the agents involved in the conflict with the goal of reaching an agreement. Design rationale is often exchanged [Lee 1997]. Special purpose agents can be used to arbitrate conflicts. It is assumed that the arbitration agent is capable of understanding and comparing the arguments (rationale) of the agents involved in the conflict. Another scenario is that the agents recognize their conflict as being part of a predefined conflict set and use an attached strategy for conflict resolution.

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