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Normative design using inductive learning

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 July 2011

Department of Computing, Imperial College London, 180 Queen's Gate, SW7 2AZ, London, UK (e-mail:,
Department of Computing, Imperial College London, 180 Queen's Gate, SW7 2AZ, London, UK (e-mail:,
Department of Computing, University of Bath, BA2 7AY, Bath, UK (e-mail:,
Department of Computing, University of Bath, BA2 7AY, Bath, UK (e-mail:,
Principles of Informatics Research Division, National Institute of Informatics, Chiyoda-ku, 2-1-2, Hitotsubashi, Tokyo 101-8430, Japan (e-mail:


In this paper we propose a use-case-driven iterative design methodology for normative frameworks, also called virtual institutions, which are used to govern open systems. Our computational model represents the normative framework as a logic program under answer set semantics (ASP). By means of an inductive logic programming approach, implemented using ASP, it is possible to synthesise new rules and revise the existing ones. The learning mechanism is guided by the designer who describes the desired properties of the framework through use cases, comprising (i) event traces that capture possible scenarios, and (ii) a state that describes the desired outcome. The learning process then proposes additional rules, or changes to current rules, to satisfy the constraints expressed in the use cases. Thus, the contribution of this paper is a process for the elaboration and revision of a normative framework by means of a semi-automatic and iterative process driven from specifications of (un)desirable behaviour. The process integrates a novel and general methodology for theory revision based on ASP.

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