SweetDeal: Representing Agent Contracts with Exceptions Using Semantic Web Rules, Ontologies, and Process Descriptions

Benjamin N. Grosof, Terrence C. Poon
2004 International Journal of Electronic Commerce  
We address the problem in automated knowledge-based e-contracts of how to represent exception handling provisions -which in many (if not most) natural language contracts constitute the majority of the contract's volume. We make three main novel contributions. First, we newly extend the previous SweetDeal e-contracting approach to incorporate ontology knowledge, specifically ontologies about business processes, and show how that is useful to represent provisions for exception handling. We give a
more » ... detailed application scenario of provisions about late delivery in manufacturing supply chain management (SCM). SweetDeal is a rule-based approach to representation of business contracts that enables software agents to create, evaluate, negotiate, and execute contracts with substantial automation and modularity. Its rules are represented in the Situated Courteous Logic Programs knowledge representation encoded in RuleML, the leading approach to Semantic Web rules. The process ontologies are represented in Description Logic encoded in DAML+OIL, the close predecessor of W3C's OWL, the leading approach to Semantic Web ontologies. Second, we give a new simple technical mechanism for the Semantic Web to integrate such rules "on top of" such ontologies. Rule predicates are defined by reference to classes or properties in ontology knowledge bases. This mechanism provides the basic technical approach to incorporate ontology knowledge into a SweetDeal e-contract. Third, we newly show how to represent, in DAML+OIL/OWL, process ontology knowledge drawn in particular from the MIT Process Handbook. The Handbook is a large, --3 previously-existing repository used by practical industrial process designers. We formalize a fraction of the Handbook's knowledge and use it for our e-contracting application scenario. More generally, our approach provides a foundation for representing and automating deals about services -in particular, about Semantic Web Services, so as to help search, select, and compose them. Our system is the first to combine emerging Semantic Web standards for knowledge representation of rules (RuleML) and of ontologies (DAML+OIL/OWL) with each other, and moreover for a practical e-business application domain. A prototype is running. 12
doi:10.1080/10864415.2004.11044305 fatcat:pttqumooozfknbtqsczjl3lymm