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Custard: Computing norm states over information stores

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNConference contribution/Paper

Published
Publication date9/05/2016
Host publicationAAMAS '16 Proceedings of the 2016 International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems
Place of PublicationRichland, SC
PublisherIFAAMAS
Pages1096-1105
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9781450342391
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Norms provide a way to model the social architecture of a sociotechnical system (STS) and are thus crucial for understanding how such a system supports secure collaboration between principals, that is, autonomous parties such as humans and organizations. Accordingly, an important challenge is to compute the state of a norm instance at runtime in a sociotechnical system. Custard addresses this challenge by providing a relational syntax for schemas of important norm types along with their canonical lifecycles and providing a mapping from each schema to queries that compute instances of the schema in different lifecycle stages. In essence, Custard supports a norm-based abstraction layer over underlying information stores such as databases and event logs. Specifically, it supports deadlines; complex events, including those based on aggregation; and norms that reference other norms.

We prove important correctness properties for Custard, including stability (once an event has occurred, it has occurred forever) and safety (a query returns a finite set of tuples). Our compiler generates SQL queries from Custard specifications. Writing out such SQL queries by hand is tedious and error-prone even for simple norms, thus demonstrating Custard's practical benefits.