Automated Negotiation from Declarative Contract Descriptions

Benjamin Grosof
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – Sloan School of Management

Daniel M. Reeves
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Michael P. Wellman
University of Michigan – Computer Science and Engineering

October 2001

MIT Sloan Working Paper No. 4188-01


Our approach for automating the negotiation of business contracts proceeds in three broad steps. First, determine the structure of the negotiation process by applying general knowledge about auctions and domain-specific knowledge about the contract subject along with preferences from potential buyers and sellers. Second, translate the determined negotiation structure into an operational specification for an auction platform. Third, map the negotiation results to a final contract. We have implemented a prototype which supports these steps, employing a declarative specification (in Courteous Logic Programs) of (1) high-level knowledge about alternative negotiation structures, (2) general-case rules about auction parameters, (3) rules to map the auction parameters to a specific auction platform, and (4) special-case rules for subject domains. We demonstrate the flexibility of this approach by automatically generating several alternative negotiation structures for a previous domain: travel-shopping in a trading agent competition.

Automated Negotiation from Declarative Contract Descriptions

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