Promise Theory
Principles and Applications

Promise Theory bridges the worlds of semantics and dynamics to describe interactions between autonomous agencies within a system. It provides a semi-formal language for modelling intent and its outcome, which results in a chemistry for cooperative behaviour.

Written in collaboration with Jan A. Bergstra.


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"Promise Theory offers a methodology for generating certainty on top of uncertain foundations. This book presents the formal foundations of Promise Theory. It lays out the formalisms in a clear, concise, understandable way that makes them accessible to non-mathematicians. If you want to fully understand the conceptual mechanisms that underlie the distributed systems that make up today's "cloud services", you should start with this book."
-- Jeff Sussna, Author of Designing Delivery

"Mark Burgess brings the rigor of theoretical physics to the science of cooperation. The application of this kind of rigor to the social sciences is a tremendous leap forward. His pioneering work on developing an algebra of cooperation is an idea whose time has come. A promise is not a guarantee. That said: I promise you that examining this book will stimulate your thinking about cooperation and collaboration at scale. This book covers a lot of ground: promises, impositions, invitations, games, and the peculiar dynamics of authority and authorization. Those looking for a book that applies the lessons of distributed computing to the new and emerging science of cooperation will find what they are looking for here. "
-- Daniel Mezick, Author of The Culture Game and Inviting Leadership

Distributed cooperation from autonomy

This book is aimed at scientists and engineers. It introduces readers to promises in a practical manner, keeping within the paradi gm of `voluntary cooperation'. The book draws on examples from the real world, with a special emphasis on computers and information systems.