In many multiagent systems, agents are not able to freely interact with each other or with a centralized mechanism. They may be limited in their interactions by cost or by the inherent structure of the system. Using a combinatorial auction application as motivation, we study the impact of interaction costs and structure on the strategic behaviour of self-interested agents. We present a particular model of costly agent-interaction, and argue that self-interested agents may wish to coordinate their actions with their neighbours so as to reduce their individual costs. We highlight the issues that arise in such a setting, propose a cost-sharing mechanism that agents can use, and discuss group coordination procedures. Experimental work validates our model.


Multiagent systems mechanism design communication costs 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yunqi Zhang
    • 1
  • Kate Larson
    • 1
  1. 1.Cheriton School of Computer ScienceUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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