Efficient mechanisms for the supply of services in multi-agent environments

Vulkan, Nir and Jennings, Nicholas (2000) Efficient mechanisms for the supply of services in multi-agent environments. Decision Support Systems, 28 (1-2). pp. 5-19.


Auctions provide an efficient way of resolving one-to-many negotiations. This is particularly true for automated agents where delays and long communications carry negative externalities. A properly designed auction, tailored to the specific needs of the relevant multi-agent system, can significantly improve its performance. In this paper, we focus on the specific problem of service allocation among autonomous, automated agents, within the context of the ADEPT project, which concerns the BT (British Telecom) business process of providing a quote for designing a network for a customer.

The main contributions of this paper are threefold: First, we show how an English auction can be modifed for services, which are multi-dimensional private value objects. Second, we show how, under certain conditions, auctions can be arranged by the service providing agents, in the cases where the service seeking agents fail to do so. We consider the incentives of all participants, and show how such an arrangement can be in their best interest. Finally, by examining our results for what is, essentially, an application of game-theory and mechanism design to an existing application, we draw some general conclusions on how such concepts can be operationalized in automated agents.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Intelligent agents; Automated negotiation; Auctions; Mechanism design; finance
Subject(s): Complexity
Centre: CABDyN Complexity Centre
Entrepreneurship Centre
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2012 15:00
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2017 15:09
Funders: N/A
URI: http://eureka.sbs.ox.ac.uk/id/eprint/2959

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