We present a system for multi-agent contract negotiation, implemented as a generalized market architecture called MAGNET. MAGNET provides support for a variety of types of transactions, from simple buying and selling of goods and services to complex multi-agent contract negotiations. In the latter case, MAGNET is designed to negotiate contracts based on temporal and precedence constraints, and includes facilities for dealing with time-based contingencies. The market operates as an explicit intermediary in the negotiation process, which helps in controlling fraud and discouraging counterspeculation.We introduce a multi-criterion, anytime bid evaluation strategy that incorporates cost, task coverage, temporal feasibility, and risk estimation into a simulated annealing framework. We report on an experimental evaluation using a set of increasingly informed search heuristics within simulated annealing. The results show that excess focus on improvement leads to faster improvement early on, at the cost of a lower likelihood of finding a solution that satisfies all the constraints.
Collins, John; Sundareswara, Rashmi; Tsvetovat, Maksim; Gini, Maria; Mobasher, Bamshad.
Multi-Agent Contracting for Supply-Chain Management.
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