Is It Worth Arguing?

  • Nishan C. Karunatillake
  • Nicholas R. Jennings
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 3366)


Argumentation-based negotiation (ABN) is an effective means of resolving conflicts in a multi-agent society. However, it consumes both time and computational resources for agents to generate, select and evaluate arguments. Furthermore, in many cases, argumentation is not the only means of resolving conflicts. Thus, some could be avoided either by finding an alternative means (evading the conflict) or by modifying the intended course of action (re-planning). Therefore, it would be advantageous for agents to identify those situations and weigh the costs and the benefits of arguing before using it to resolve conflicts. To this end, we present a preliminary empirical analysis to evaluate the performance of a simple ABN system, with respect to other non-arguing approaches, in a particular task allocation scenario. In our experiments, we simulate a multi-agent community and allow the agents to use a combination of ABN, evasion and re-planning techniques to overcome conflicts that arise within the community. Analysing the observed results, we show that, in our domain, ABN presents an effective means of resolving conflicts when the resources are constrained. However, we also show it is a more costly and less effective means, compared to evasion and re-planning methods, when resources are more abundant.


Argumentation-based Negotiation Conflict Resolution 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Agents’ Conflicts: New Issues. In: Tessier, C., Chaudron, L., Müller, H.J. (eds.) Conflicting Agents Conflict Management in Multi-Agent Systems, pp. 1–30. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht (2000)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Castelfranchi, C.: Conflict Ontology. In: Computational Conflicts, Conflict Modeling for Distributed Intelligent Systems, pp. 21–40. Springer, Heidelberg (2000)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Walton, D.N., Krabbe, E.C.: Dialgoues: Types, Goals, and Shifts. In: Commitment in Dialogue: Basic Concepts of Interpersonal Reasoning, pp. 65–117. State Univ of New York Press, Albany (1995)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Rahwan, I., Ramchurn, S.D., Jennings, N.R., McBurney, P., Parsons, S., Sonenberg, L.: Argumentation-based negotiation. The Knowledge Engineering Review 18 (2004)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Kraus, S., Sycara, K., Evenchik, A.: Reaching agreements through argumentation. Artificial Intelligence 104, 1–69 (1998)MATHCrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Sycara, K.: Persuasive argumentation in negotiation. Theory and Decision 28, 203–242 (1990)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Jung, H., Tambe, M., Kulkarni, S.: Argumentation as distributed constraint satisfaction: Applications and results. In: Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Autonomous Agents (Agents 2001), pp. 324–331. ACM Press, Montreal (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Rahwan, I., Sonenberg, L., Dignum, F.: Towards interest-based negotiation. In: Rosenschein, J.S., Sandholm, T., Wooldridge, M., Yokoo, M. (eds.) Proceedings of the 2nd International Joint Conference on Autonomas Agents and Multi-Agent Systems (AAMAS 2003), Melbourne, Australia, pp. 773–780 (2003)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Reed, C., Long, D., Fox, M., Garagnani, M.: Persuasion as a form of inter-agent negotiation. In: Dickson, L., Zhang, C. (eds.) DAI 1996. LNCS, vol. 1286, pp. 120–136. Springer, Heidelberg (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ramchurn, S.D., Jennings, N.R., Sierra, C.: Persuasive negotiation for autonomous agents: A rhetorical approach. In: IJCAI Workshop on Computational Models of Natural Argument, Acapulco, Mexico, pp. 9–18 (2003)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Amgoud, L., Maudet, N.: Strategical considerations for argumentative agents (preliminary report). In: Proceedings of the 9th International Workshop on Non-Monotonic Reasoning (NMR 2002): Special session on Argument, dialogue, decision, Toulouse, France, pp. 399–407 (2002)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Parsons, S., Sierra, C., Jennings, N.R.: Agents that reason and negotiate by arguing. Journal of Logic and Computation 8, 261–292 (1998)MATHCrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Sierra, C., Jennings, N.R., Noriega, P., Parsons, S.: A framework for argumentation-based negotiation. In: Rao, A., Singh, M.P., Wooldridge, M.J. (eds.) ATAL 1997. LNCS, vol. 1365, pp. 177–192. Springer, Heidelberg (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    McBurney, P., van Eijk, R., Parsons, S., Amgoud, L.: A dialogue-game protocol for agent purchase negotiations. Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems 7, 235–273 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Yokoo, M., Hirayama, K.: Distributed constraint satisfaction algorithm for complex local problems. In: Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Multiagent Systems (ICMAS 1998), Paris, France, pp. 372–379 (1998)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Sandholm, T.W., Lesser, V.R.: Advantages of a leveled commitment contracting protocol. In: Proceedings of the Thirteenth National Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI 1996), Portland, OR, USA, pp. 126–133 (1996)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Panzarasa, P., Jennings, N.R., Norman, T.: Social mental shaping: Modelling the impact of sociality on the mental states of autonomous agents. Computational Intelligence 17, 738–782 (2001)CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nishan C. Karunatillake
    • 1
  • Nicholas R. Jennings
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Electronics and Computer ScienceUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK

Personalised recommendations