e-Negotiation Systems and Software Agents: Methods, Models, and Applications

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Negotiation is a decentralized decision-making process that seeks to find an agreement that will satisfy the requirements of two or more parties in the presence of limited common knowledge and conflicting preferences. Negotiation participants are agents who negotiate on their own behalf or represent the interests of their principals. When electronic negotiations enter the stage, these agents could be intelligent software entities that take part in the process of searching for an acceptable agreement. The degree of involvement of these “intelligent agents” in negotiations can range from supporting human negotiators (e. g. information search, offer evaluation) to fully automating the conduct of negotiations. Choosing the degree of involvement depends upon the characteristics of the problem in the negotiation. In this chapter, we review electronic negotiation systems and intelligent agents for negotiations. Different types of negotiation agents, their roles and requirements, and various methods for effective support or conduct of negotiations are discussed. Selected applications of intelligent negotiation agents are presented.