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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An organizational communication protocol based on speech acts : design, verification and formal specifications Zeng, Tao


Current technologies are not sufficient to support the full spectrum of organizational communications because organizations are open systems and organizational communication is rather complex (e.g., involves negotiations). Speech Acts is a branch of Linguistics which views speaking to be the same as acting. Recently, Speech Acts theory has been introduced into the design of computer systems, like organizational information systems (OISs), that require complex interactions among themselves. By doing so, it is hoped that actions can be incorporated into man-machine and machine-machine communications. In this thesis, one tractable portion of the speech act theory was identified which can provide a basis for the automation of a class of semi-structured communications (e.g., simple negotiations) in a distributed organizational environment. This portion of rather abstract Linguistics theory was transformed into a concrete application layer communication protocol (namely, the SACT protocol), which was then validated using a protocol validation tool (i.e., VALIRA), specified in a standard formal specification language LOTOS, and simulated using a protocol development toolkit (i.e., the Ottawa University LOTOS Toolkit). This protocol can be used by computer-based organizational systems to automate simple negotiations, as well as recurring tasks of collecting information in an organizational environment. In addition, a communication scheme (called SACT network) was added to the Woo and Lochovsky's MOAP (Micro Organization Activity Processor) model to automate inter-micro-organizational communications using the SACT protocol. The usefulness of this scheme is demonstrated through an example application.

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