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Exception handling in a multi-agent system (MAS) has not been well addressed compared to other software engineering paradigms. This results in part from the lack of a comprehensive classification of exceptions in MAS. The interaction between agents presents exceptions that cannot be addressed by the exception handling techniques used in traditional software engineering systems due to the introduction of the notions of sociability and autonomy. This paper attempts to provide an insight of agent exceptions by dividing them into three levels, namely environmental, knowledge and social level. The use of a temporal dimension in the form of explicit deadlines in communicative acts is presented as a means of clarifying and facilitating exception analysis at a social level. Comments are made on related work and areas for further work are identified.
Date of Conference: 2002