On the Input/Output behavior of argumentation frameworks

P. Baroni, G. Boella, F. Cerutti, M. Giacomin, L. van der Torre, S. Villata

Artificial Intelligence, 217, 2014, 144-197



This paper tackles the fundamental questions arising when looking at argumentation frameworks as interacting components, characterized by an Input/Output behavior, rather than as isolated monolithical entities. This modeling stance arises naturally in some application contexts, like multi-agent systems, but, more importantly, has a crucial impact on several general application-independent issues, like argumentation dynamics, argument summarization and explanation, incremental computation, and inter-formalism translation. Pursuing this research direction, the paper introduces a general modeling approach and provides a comprehensive set of theoretical results putting the intuitive notion of Input/Output behavior of argumentation frameworks on a solid formal ground. This is achieved by combining three main ingredients. First, several novel notions are introduced at the representation level, notably those of argumentation framework with input, of argumentation multipole, and of replacement of multipoles within a traditional argumentation framework. Second, several relevant features of argumentation semantics are identified and formally characterized. In particular, the canonical local function provides an input-aware semantics characterization and a suite of decomposability properties are introduced, concerning the correspondences between semantics outcomes at global and local level. The third ingredient glues the former ones, as it consists of the investigation of some semantics-dependent properties of the newly introduced entities, namely S-equivalence of multipoles, S-legitimacy and S-safeness of replacements, and transparency of a semantics with respect to replacements. Altogether they provide the basis and draw the limits of sound interchangeability of multipoles within traditional frameworks. The paper develops an extensive analysis of all the concepts listed above, covering seven well-known literature semantics and taking into account various, more or less constrained, ways of partitioning an argumentation framework. Diverse examples, taken from the literature, are used to illustrate the application of the results obtained and, finally, an extensive discussion of the related literature is provided.

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