Modified bargaining protocols for automated negotiation in open multi-agent systems
Current research in multi-agent systems (MAS) has advanced to the development of open MAS, which are characterized by the heterogeneity of agents, free exit/entry and decentralized control. Conflicts of interest among agents are inevitable, and hence automated negotiation to resolve them is one of the promising solutions. This thesis studies three modifications on alternating-offer bargaining protocols for automated negotiation in open MAS. The long-term goal of this research is to design negotiation protocols which can be easily used by intelligent agents in accommodating their need in resolving their conflicts. In particular, we propose three modifications: allowing non-monotonic offers during the bargaining (non-monotonic-offers bargaining protocol), allowing strategic delay (delay-based bargaining protocol), and allowing strategic ignorance to augment argumentation when the bargaining comprises argumentation (ignorance-based argumentation-based negotiation protocol). Utility theory and decision-theoretic approaches are used in the theoretical analysis part, with an aim to prove the benefit of these three modifications in negotiation among myopic agents under uncertainty. Empirical studies by means of computer simulation are conducted in analyzing the cost and benefit of these modifications. Social agents, who use common human bargaining strategies, are the subjects of the simulation. In general, we assume that agents are bounded rational with various degrees of belief and trust toward their opponents. In particular in the study of the non-monotonic-offers bargaining protocol, we assume that our agents have diminishing surplus. We further assume that our agents have increasing surplus in the study of delay-based bargaining protocol. And in the study of ignorance-based argumentation-based negotiation protocol, we assume that agents may have different knowledge and use different ontologies and reasoning engines. Through theoretical analysis under various settings, we show the benefit of allowing these modifications in terms of agents’ expected surplus. And through simulation, we show the benefit of allowing these modifications in terms of social welfare (total surplus). Several implementation issues are then discussed, and their potential solutions in terms of some additional policies are proposed. Finally, we also suggest some future work which can potentially improve the reliability of these modifications.
multi-agent systems, automated negotiation, bargaining protocol
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)