The Art of Negotiation: Developing Efficient Agent-Based Algorithms for Solving Vehicle Routing Problem with Time Windows
We present an ongoing effort in developing efficient agent-based algorithms for solving the vehicle routing problem with time windows. An abstract algorithm based on a generic agent decomposition of the problem is introduced featuring a clear separation between the local planning performed by the individual vehicles and the global coordination achieved by negotiation. The semantics of the underlying negotiation process is discussed as well as the alternative local planning strategies used by the individual vehicles. Finally a parallel version of the algorithm is presented based on efficient search diversification and intensification strategies. The presented effort is relevant namely for (i) yielding results significantly improving on all previous agent-based studies, (ii) the inclusion of relevant widely-used benchmarks missing from these studies and (iii) the breadth and depth of the provided evidence and analysis including relevant comparison to the state-of-the-art centralized solvers.
Keywordsmulti-agent systems transportation logistics optimization
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