Center for Coordination Science @ MIT


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2000 Working Papers

CCS No. 211, Sloan No. 4115

Domain-Independent Exception Handling Services That Increase Robustness in Open Multi-Agent Systems

Mark Klein and Chrysanthos Dellarocas

May 2000

A critical challenge to creating effective multi-agent systems is allowing them to operate effectively in environments where failures (‘exceptions’) can occur. This paper describes the motivation, progress and plans for work being pursued in this area by the MIT Adaptive Systems and Evolutionary Software research group (

CCS No. 212, Sloan No. 4116

An Experimental Evaluation of Domain-Independent Fault Handling Services in Open Multi-Agent Systems

Chrysanthos Dellarocas and Mark Klein

May 2000

A critical challenge to creating effective open multi-agent systems is allowing them to operate effectively in the face of potential failures. In this paper we present an experimental evaluation of a set of domain-independent services designed to handle the failure modes ("exceptions") that can occur in such environments, applied to the well-known "Contract Net" multi-agent system coordination protocol. We show that these services can produce substantially more effective fault handling behavior than standard existing techniques, while allowing simpler agent implementations.

CCS No. 213, Sloan No. 4124

Community-based Interpretive Schemes: Exploring the Use of Cyber Meetings within a Global Organization

Takeshi Yoshioka, JoAnne Yates, Wanda Orlikowski

July 2000

This paper explores the challenges of adopting a personal-computer-based meeting technology in several geographically dispersed units of a global organization. We use community-based interpretive schemes as an analytic lens for examining community assumptions and expectations about genre, technology and culture, and how they shaped use of the technology over time.

CCS No. 214, Sloan No. 4127

Coordinating Information Using Genres

Takeshi Yoshioka & George Herman

August 2000

In this paper, we demonstrate how a community may use genres for coordinating information. Genres help coordinate information related to resources, place and time since members in the community have enacted genres in the past and have expectations of the socially recognized information that genres bring. Using the HICSS website, we illustrate that genres are used for coordinating information addressing aspects of coordination mechanisms such as divisibility, concurrency, accessibility and timing that help people improve the coordination of work processes. We model these aspects using the Process Handbook, a process knowledge repository developed at MIT, and suggest that system designers and users may benefit from an explicit recognition of the coordination provided by using genres and by exploration of similar coordination through the use of this repository.

CCS No. 215, Sloan No. 4144

Grammatical Approach to Organizational Design

Jintae Lee and Brian Pentland

December 2000

This paper introduces a grammatical approach to the design and redesign of work processes.  Process grammar allows an explicit representation of the space of possible processes within a given domain, making it possible to search for alternatives more effectively than traditional techniques. Unlike some applications of formal grammar, where complete representation is required, process grammars can be useful even when the representation of the domain is incomplete. We argue that grammatical analysis provides a complementary approach to process redesign, rather than a substitute for existing approaches.

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