Rational Synthesis Academic Article uri icon


  • Synthesis is the automated construction of a system from its specification. The system has to satisfy its specification in all possible environments. Modern systems often interact with other systems, or agents. Many times these agents have objectives of their own, other than to fail the system. Thus, it makes sense to model system environments not as hostile, but as composed of rational agents; i.e., agents that act to achieve their own objectives. We introduce the problem of synthesis in the context of rational agents (rational synthesis, for short). The input consists of a temporal-logic formula specifying the system, temporal-logic formulas specifying the objectives of the agents, and a solution concept definition. The output is an implementation T of the system and a profile of strategies, suggesting a behavior for each of the agents. The output should satisfy two conditions. First, the composition of T with the strategy profile should satisfy the specification. Second, the strategy profile should be an equilibrium in the sense that, in view of their objectives, agents have no incentive to deviate from the strategies assigned to them, where “no incentive to deviate” is interpreted as dictated by the given solution concept. We provide a method for solving the rational-synthesis problem, and show that for the classical definitions of equilibria studied in game theory, rational synthesis is not harder than traditional synthesis. We also consider the multi-valued case in which the objectives of the system and the agents are still temporal logic formulas, but involve payoffs from a finite lattice.

publication date

  • January 1, 2009

published in