Negotiating Flexible Agreements by Combining Distributive and Integrative Negotiation

Negotiating Flexible Agreements by Combining Distributive and Integrative Negotiation

 

Quoc Bao Vo, Lin Padgham and Lawrence Cavedon
School of Computer Science and Information Technology,
RMIT University, GPO Box 2476V, Melbourne, VIC 3001, Australia
E-mail: {vqbao,linpa,lcavedon}@cs.rmit.edu.au

 

Abstract
This paper presents an approach to automated negotiation between agents which
attempts to combine the advantages of a co-operative value adding approach, with
the reality that negotiating agents are also competing. We use the concept of a
trusted mediator to facilitate openness regarding what one values, without disadvantaging
oneself by revealing sensitive information (such as a reserve price) to
the other party. Social science and management literature deals with negotiation
between people, and so can be both more complex, and less well defined than automated
negotiation between software agents. We take inspiration from the social
science literature and develop a computational framework to support negotiating
software agents. The framework includes recognition that agents are self interested,
and therefore will manipulate the system to their advantage if possible. We
include mechanisms to discourage this kind of manipulation in the form of a transaction
cost associated with making only small concessions, and a bias in dividing
the pie which is the gain from trade which favours the agent who is most “honest”
in making offers.

Introduction
Many decisions in our everyday life are increasingly being made by computers in a relatively
autonomous fashion. For instance, the routing of telephone calls and data packets
in telecommunication networks has been controlled and decided autonomously by
computers. Computers make decisions and control over how loads in electrical grids
will be balanced at times of peak demand. Similarly research is being done on how
computers can react to, and control, automative and airplane traffic in real time.

Negotiating Flexible Agreements by Combining Distributive and Integrative Negotiation

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