Talk by Amit Chopra


Norms and Protocols: Abstractions for Engineering Decentralized Sociotechnical Systems


Sociotechnical systems (STS) support interactions between autonomous social principals such as humans and organizations. Autonomy means that STS are conceptually decentralized: Principals have independent decision making but engage with each other in arms-length interactions on the basis of relevant norms and protocols. Current software engineering approaches are ill-suited to STS, the reason being that they emphasize unitary abstractions (e.g., machine, service) and leave the social epiphenomenal. In this talk, I describe Interaction-Oriented Software Engineering (IOSE) as an approach for modelling STS, its key abstractions of norms and protocols, and how these may be computed (enacted) in a decentralized manner. In particular, I discuss novel languages for specifying norms and protocols and the connection between the two. Protocol languages in particular have received considerable attention in the literature. I discuss a recent evaluation of protocol languages for properties such as support for concurrency and asynchrony. I also briefly discuss applications to distributed ledgers.


Amit Chopra is a senior lecturer at Lancaster University and group leader for software engineering. He obtained a PhD in computer science from North Carolina State University in 2008. He took far too long but fortunately he finished with a passion found, not lost. Amit did a postdoctoral stint at the University of Trento (2009-2012), where he held a Marie Curie Trentino Fellowship. With a heavy heart and two medium bags, he was preparing to leave Italy to take up another Marie Curie Fellowship at Imperial when he landed the job at Lancaster. Amit is pursuing research on decentralized multiagent systems, for which the UK government is thankfully footing the bills. Amit is friendly and sociable. Walking is his preferred way of clearing his mind.