A Paper Abstract by Benjamin Grosof

New Prioritization Methods for Conflict Management (Aug. 1993)

by Benjamin N. Grosof

Abstract: We address theoretical underpinnings and generic aspects of conflict management in cooperative problem-solving.

Management of conflict often involves aggregating multiple transitive preference criteria into a single overall preference criterion: e.g., when reconciling several agents' negotiating positions. We observe that many different kinds of conflict and conflict management can be viewed in these terms: including about goals, desires, and beliefs.

We offer a new method for preference aggregation: our generalized concept of prioritization. This generalizes the usual concept of lexicographic combination, and is applicable very widely as a qualitative "weak method".

We apply our generalized prioritization to the realm of managing conflict about beliefs. An important task in this realm is to maintain a common blackboard-spirit theory that is shared by cooperating participants, e.g., to maintain a collaborative design rationale. We offer a new method for organizing conflicting beliefs into such a common theory: the Prioritized Argument Management System (PAMS). PAMS revolves around a new logical formalism for non-monotonic reasoning: a variant of prioritized circumscription. PAMS provides more functionality, and a higher level of abstraction, than Truth Maintenance Systems cf. Doyle and de Kleer. PAMS provides a computational model with strong, model-theoretic semantics.

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