A theoretical framework on proactive information exchange in agent teamwork

Xiaocong Fan, John Yen, Richard A. Volz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Proactive information delivery is critical to achieving effective teamwork. However, existing theories do not adequately address proactive information delivery. This paper presents a formal framework for proactive information delivery in agent teamwork. First, the concept of information need is introduced. Second, a new modal operator, InfoNeed is used to represent information needs. The properties of the InfoNeed operator and its relationships to other mental modal operators are examined, four types of information needs are formally identified, and axioms for anticipating the information needs of other agents are proposed and justified. Third, the axiom characterizing chains of helpful behavior in large agent teams is given. Fourth, the semantics for two proactive communicative acts (ProInform and 3PTSubscribe) is given using a reformulation of the Cohen-Levesque semantics for communicative acts in terms of the SharedPlans formalism of Grosz and Kraus. The work in this paper not only provides a better understanding of the underlying assumptions required to justify proactive information delivery behavior, but also provides a coherent basis for the specification and design of agent teams with proactive information delivery capabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-97
Number of pages75
JournalArtificial Intelligence
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence


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