The adversarial activity model for bounded rational agents

Inon Zuckerman, Sarit Kraus, Jeffrey S. Rosenschein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Multiagent research provides an extensive literature on formal Beliefs-Desires-Intentions (BDI) based models describing the notion of teamwork and cooperation. However, multiagent environments are often not cooperative nor collaborative; in many cases, agents have conflicting interests, leading to adversarial interactions. This form of interaction has not yet been formally defined in terms of the agents mental states, beliefs, desires and intentions. This paper presents the Adversarial Activity model, a formal Beliefs-Desires-Intentions (BDI) based model for bounded rational agents operating in a zero-sum environment. In complex environments, attempts to use classical utility-based search methods with bounded rational agents can raise a variety of difficulties (e. g. implicitly modeling the opponent as an omniscient utility maximizer, rather than leveraging a more nuanced, explicit opponent model). We define the Adversarial Activity by describing the mental states of an agent situated in such environment. We then present behavioral axioms that are intended to serve as design principles for building such adversarial agents. We illustrate the advantages of using the model as an architectural guideline by building agents for two adversarial environments: the Connect Four game and the Risk strategic board game. In addition, we explore the application of our approach by analyzing log files of completed Connect Four games, and gain additional insights on the axioms' appropriateness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)374-409
Number of pages36
JournalAutonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This research is based upon work supported in part by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and the U.S. Army Research Office under grant number W911NF-08-1-0144, AFOSR grant FA95500610405, NSF grant 0705587 and under ISF grant #1357/07, #898/05 and the Israel Ministry of Science and Technology grant #3-6797. We appreciate the comments of the anonymous reviewers, which were very useful.


  • BDI models
  • Bounded rationality
  • Formal models of agency
  • Modeling other agents and self


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