The Belief-Desire-Intention model of agency


M. Georgeff, B. Pell, M. Pollack, Milind Tambe, and M. Wooldrige. 1999. “The Belief-Desire-Intention model of agency .” In Agents, Theories, Architectures and Languages (ATAL).


Within the ATAL community, the belief-desire-intention (BDI) model has come to be possibly the best known and best studied model of practical reasoning agents. There are several reasons for its success, but perhaps the most compelling are that the BDI model combines a respectable philosophical model of human practical reasoning, (originally developed by Michael Bratman [1]), a number of implementations (in the IRMA architecture [2] and the various PRS-like systems currently available [7]), several successful applications (including the now-famous fault diagnosis system for the space shuttle, as well as factory process control systems and business process management [8]), and finally, an elegant abstract logical semantics, which have been taken up and elaborated upon widely within the agent research community [14, 16]. However, it could be argued that the BDI model is now becoming somewhat dated: the principles of the architecture were established in the mid-1980s, and have remained essentially unchanged since then. With the explosion of interest in intelligent agents and multi-agent systems that has occurred since then, a great many other architectures have been developed, which, it could be argued, address some issues that the BDI model fundamentally fails to. Furthermore, the focus of agent research (and AI in general) has shifted significantly since the BDI model was originally developed. New advances in understanding (such as Russell and Subramanian’s model of “boundedoptimal agents” [15]) have led to radical changes in how the agents community (and more generally, the artificial intelligence community) views its enterprise. The purpose of this panel is therefore to establish how the BDI model stands in relation to other contemporary models of agency, and in particular where it can or should go next.
See also: 1999