Modeling and analyzing multi-agent behaviors using predicate/transition nets

Dianxiang Xu, Richard A. Volz, Thomas R. Ioerger, John Yen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


How agents accomplish a goal task in a multi-agent system is usually specified by multi- agent plans built from basic actions (e.g. operators) of which the agents are capable. The plan specification provides the agents with a shared mental model for how they are supposed to collaborate with each other to achieve the common goal. Making sure that the plans are reliable and fit for the purpose for which they are designed is a critical problem with this approach. To address this problem, this paper presents a formal approach to modeling and analyzing multi-agent behaviors using Predicate/Transition (PrT) nets, a high- level formalism of Petri nets. We model a multi-agent problem by representing agent capabilities as transitions in PrT nets. To analyze a multi-agent PrT model, we adapt the planning graphs as a compact structure for reachability analysis, which is coherent to the concurrent semantics. We also demonstrate that one can analyze whether parallel actions specified in multi-agent plans can be executed in parallel and whether the plans can achieve the goal by analyzing the dependency relations among the transitions in the PrT model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-124
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Artificial Intelligence


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