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Continuous-Time Negotiation Mechanism for Software Agents

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5 Author(s)
Bo An ; Coll. of Comput. Sci., Chongqing Univ. ; Kwang Mong Sim ; Liang Gui Tang ; Shuang Qing Li
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While there are several existing mechanisms and systems addressing the crucial and difficult issues of automated one-to-many negotiation, this paper develops a flexible one-to-many negotiation mechanism for software agents. Unlike the existing general one-to-many negotiation mechanism, in which an agent should wait until it has received proposals from all its trading partners before generating counterproposals, in the flexible one-to-many negotiation mechanism, an agent can make a proposal in a flexible way during negotiation, i.e., negotiation is conducted in continuous time. To decide when to make a proposal, two strategies based on fixed waiting time and a fixed waiting ratio is proposed. Results from a series of experiments suggest that, guided by the two strategies for deciding when to make a proposal, the flexible negotiation mechanism achieved more favorable trading outcomes as compared with the general one-to-many negotiation mechanism. To determine the amount of concession, negotiation agents are guided by four mathematical functions based on factors such as time, trading partners' strategies, negotiation situations of other threads, and competition. Experimental results show that agents guided by the four functions react to changing market situations by making prudent and appropriate rates of concession and achieve generally favorable negotiation outcomes

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Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part B: Cybernetics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:36 ,  Issue: 6 )