Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 158–182 | Cite as

A negotiation framework for linked combinatorial optimization problems

  • Lei Duan
  • Mustafa K. Doğru
  • Ulaş Özen
  • J. Christopher Beck


We tackle the challenge of applying automated negotiation to self-interested agents with local but linked combinatorial optimization problems. Using a distributed production scheduling problem, we propose two negotiation strategies for making concessions in a joint search space of agreements. In the first strategy, building on Lai and Sycara (Group Decis Negot 18(2):169–187, 2009), an agent concedes on local utility in order to achieve an agreement. In the second strategy, an agent concedes on the distance in an attribute space while maximizing its local utility. Lastly, we introduce a Pareto improvement phase to bring the final agreement closer to the Pareto frontier. Experimental results show that the new attribute-space negotiation strategy outperforms its utility-based counterpart on the quality of the agreements and the Pareto improvement phase is effective in approaching the Pareto frontier. This article presents the first study of applying automated negotiation to self-interested agents each with a local, but linked, combinatorial optimization problem.


Combinatorial optimization Production scheduling Multi-agent negotiation Negotiation framework Negotiation strategy Pareto efficiency 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lei Duan
    • 1
  • Mustafa K. Doğru
    • 2
  • Ulaş Özen
    • 3
  • J. Christopher Beck
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical and Industrial EngineeringUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs600 Mountain AvenueMurray HillUSA
  3. 3.Alcatel-Lucent Bell LabsBlanchardstown Industrial ParkDublin 15Ireland

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