KQML as an Agent Communication Language

Up: KQML as an Agent Communication Language

KQML as an Agent Communication Language

Tim Finin and Richard Fritzson, Computer Science Department, University of Maryland Baltimore County, finin@cs.umbc.edu,fritzson@cs.umbc.edu

Don McKay and Robin McEntire, Valley Forge Laboratory, Unisys Corporation, Paoli PA USA, mckay@vfl.paramax.com,robin@vfl.paramax.com


This paper describes the design of and experimentation with the Knowledge Query and Manipulation Language (KQML), a new language and protocol for exchanging information and knowledge. This work is part of a larger effort, the ARPA Knowledge Sharing Effort which is aimed at developing techniques and methodology for building large-scale knowledge bases which are sharable and reusable. KQML is both a message format and a message-handling protocol to support run-time knowledge sharing among agents. KQML focuses on an extensible set of performatives, which defines the permissible ``speech acts'' agents may use and comprise a substrate on which to develop higher-level models of interagent interaction such as contract nets and negotiation. In addition, KQML provides a basic architecture for knowledge sharing through a special class of agent called communication facilitators which coordinate the interactions of other agents The ideas which underlie the evolving design of KQML are currently being explored through experimental prototype systems which are being used to support several testbeds in such areas as concurrent engineering, intelligent design and intelligent planning and scheduling.

To appear in The Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM'94), ACM Press, November 1994.