Frank Dignum

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Since September 2000, I am an associate professor at the Institute of Information and Computing Sciences from the Utrecht University.

In 2006 I was enjoying a sabbatical at the Department of Information Systems of the University of Melbourne.

In 2013 I got a fellowship from the KNAW to stay at the NIAS where I embarked on research on the fundamental aspects of social agents.



Courses I teach:

I have tought the following courses:

  1. Games and Agents
  2. Virtual Markets
  3. Adaptive Agents
  4. Aibo Programming
  5. Software project
  6. Social simulation (seminar)
  7. onderzoeksmethoden
  8. Kunstmatige Intelligentie
  9. Introductie project
  10. Intelligent Interaction


From 2009-2016 I was coordinating the Honours program of computer science.

From 2016 I am the coordinator of the interdisciplinary honours program of the science faculty.

I have taught courses on social aspects of software agents for PhD students in Barcelona and Melbourne. I have taught tutorials on Agent Communication, Agent Organizations, Agent Based Social Simulation and Intelligent Socio-Technical Interaction at the European Agent Systems Summer School.

Research interests:

My central area of research in the past ten years has been social multi-agent systems, where agents can be either software or human agents. In specific I have investigated the formal description and implementation of social aspects of relations, norms and regulations and their influences on the actions of other agents. In recent years I have used the theory I developed for defining agent architectures and mechanisms for social multi-agent systems.

Related to this research I also look at the theory of agent communication and agent organizations. I describe the role of communication and how the communication should be described (and formalized). Messages are based on the speech act theory and the effects of the communication are described using a combination of logics (dynamic deontic logic, temporal logic, epistemic logic, etc.).

The theories and techniques that are developed in my research are applied in many areas. Some projects that we have conducted are: air-traffic control, warehouse logistics, simulation of policy change, coordination of web services, automated mediation of organizations, agents for serious games and social robotics.

Things I organize(d):

I am local co-organizer of  ECAI 2016 in The Hague.


I was the local organizing chair of AAMAS 2005.

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I co-organized the following workshops:

1.      international workshop on Communication Modelling using the Language/Action perspective (1996)

2.      the first international workshop on agent communication languages (1999)

3.      The workshop on agent communication (2000)

4.      The workshop on Agent Mediated Electronic Commerce (2000)

5.      the workshop on Agent Communication Languages and Conversation Policies (2002)

6.      the workshop on Agents for Information Management (2002)

7.      the workshop on Agent Communication Languages and Conversation Policies (2003)

8.      the workshop on Agent Communication (2004, 2009,2010)

9.      the workshop on Agent Organization: Theory and Practice (2004)

10.  10. the workshop on Agents for Games and Simulations (2009, 2010,2011,2012)

Some of these workshops resulted in Springer books:

1.      Issues in Agent Communication.

2.      Agent Mediated Electronic Commerce

3.      Advances in Agent Communication

4.      Developments in Agent Communication

5.      Agents for Games and Simulations

PC membership:

1.      the Senior PC of international joint conference on Agents and Multi-Agent Systems (AAMAS)

2.      the  European conference of Multi Agent Systems (EUMAS)

3.      the International Central and Eastern European Conference on Multi-Agent Systems (CEEMAS)

4.      Int. Conference on Intelligent Agent Technology (IAT)

5.      the International Joint Conference on AI (IJCAI)

6.      area chair of the European Conference on AI (ECAI)

7.      the national conference on AI from the AAAI (USA)

8.      the Belgium/Dutch conference on AI (BNAIC)

9.      the international workshop on Deontic Logic in Computer Science (DEON)

10.  Int. Conference on Electronic Commerce (ICEC)

11.  the international Conference on Enterprise Information Systems

12.  the Bled Conference on eCommerce

13.  the international workshop on Cooperative Information Agents.

14.  the international workshop on Agent Mediated Electronic Trading (AMEC)

15.  the international workshop on Agent Oriented Information Systems (AOIS)

16.  the symposium “from agent theories to agent implementation” (1998,2000, 2002,2004)

17.  the international Workshop on Multi-Agent Systems : Theory&Applications (MASTA) 

18.  Int. workshop on Programming Multi Agent Systems (ProMAS)

19.  Int. workshop on Argumentation in Multi Agent Systems (ArgMAS)

20.  Int. Conference on Grid Services Engineering and Management (GSEM)

21.  the international Workshop on Agent Technologies for e-Services

22.  Int. Conference on information integration and web-based applications and services (IIWAS)

23.  the international workshop on the Language Action Perspective (LAP) (until 2003)



Some recent projects I am involved in are:

SAF21. Social Aspects of Fishery Management. In this project we aim to incorporate social science aspects into the models used to advice fishery management policy makers. In particular in Utrecht we investigate the role of social norms and other social structures on the effects of policies.

RAGE. Realising an Applied Gaming Eco-system. This large European project is connecting current game research to practical tools that can be used by the game industry. In Utrecht we investigate how social aspects can be incorporated in the game assets.

SEMIRA. We try to figure out why the smoking ban works better in some countries than others based on the assumption that culture and norms play a big role.

Falcon. In this project we develop an agent organization to control the logistics of warehouse logistic systems.

Boon companion. An endeavour to develop a social robot that can play and teach children.

MADAM: a multi-agent based system for model based diagnosis applied to airport scheduling.

ANITA: Exchanging information between different departments within the police force in a legal and efficient way.

The activities of this group also resulted in a book on Agent Mediated Electronic Commerce from a European perspective.



My publications on (agent mediated) electronic commerce, flexible communication protocols, communicating agents and logic are for some part available on-line.


Some (invited) presentations I gave in the past years on current topics in my field of research :

Ø  Agents and virtual markets” (iiWAS99)

Ø  Agents and Electronic Commerce: Hype and Reality” (ICEIS2000)

Ø  Trust and Reputation for e-Business” (iiWAS2002)

Ø  Software agents: Theory and Practice” (EurAsia2002)

Ø  Web Services and Software Agents” (iiWAS2003)

Ø  Social commitments (ISIS presentation December 2005)

Ø  Norms and Electronic Institutions (DEON 2006)

Ø  Organizing Multi-Agent Systems for the Real World (PAAMS, 2009)

Ø  Norms, Groups and Social Simulation ( ESSC presentation September 2011)

Ø  Agents for Serious Gaming (ICAART 2012)

Ø  Trust and Communication in Human-Agent-Robot Teams (TRUST 2012)

Ø  Practicing Social Practices (PRIMA 2014)

Ø  Social Agents for Social Simulation for Social Science (MABS 2015)


Ø  Why implementing norms is difficult (COIN/EMAS 2016)


More on Frank Dignum


  • And for all those people that wonder about our names: “Yes, Virginia and me are married”.


  • A substantial part of my free time was devoted to basketball as coach and trainer for OSM’75 in Maarssen
  • Nowadays I am running long distances at OSM’75 atletiek, where I also train a group of runners.




Contact Frank Dignum (Click below to send me an e-mail)

Postal address:

Institute of Information and Computing Sciences

Utrecht University

P.O.Box 80.089

3508 TB Utrecht The Netherlands

+31 30 253.91.09 (or 253.14.54)

+31 30 253.28.04

Campus address:
BBL 517 (Fifth floor of the Buys Ballot building) Princetonplein 5