Explaining BDI agent behaviour through dialogue

Louise A. Dennis, Nir Oren

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPublished conference contribution

11 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


BDI agents act in response to external inputs and their internal plan library. Understanding the root cause of BDI agent action is often difficult, and in this paper we present a dialogue based approach for explaining the behaviour of a BDI agent. We consider two dialogue participants who may have different views regarding the beliefs, plans and external events which drove agent action (encoded via traces). These participants make utterances which incrementally reveal their traces to each other, allowing them to identify divergences in the traces, or to conclude that the traces agree. In practice, we envision a human taking on the role of a dialogue participant, with the BDI agent itself acting as the other participant. The dialogue then facilitates explanation, understanding and debugging of BDI agent behaviour. After presenting our formalism and its properties, we describe our implementation of the system and provide an example of its use in a simple scenario
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProc. of the 20th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS 2021)
EditorsU Endriss, A Nowe, F Dignum, A Lomuscio
PublisherInternational Foundation for Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (IFAAMAS)
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-8307-3
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event20th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent System - Virtual, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 May 20217 May 2021
Conference number: 20

Publication series

ISSN (Electronic)2523-5699


Conference20th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent System
Abbreviated title AAMAS-2021
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

Bibliographical note

This work arose out of conversations at a Lorentz Workshop on the Dynamics of Multi-Agent Systems (2018). Thanks are due Koen Hindriks and Vincent Koeman for their input. The work was supported by the UKRI/EPSRC RAIN [EP/R026084], SSPEDI [EP/P011829/1 ] and FAIR-SPACE [EP/R026092] Robotics and AI Hubs.


  • Dialogues
  • BDI
  • Explanation

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