BnB-ADOPT: An Asynchronous Branch-and-Bound DCOP Algorithm

W. Yeoh, A. Felner, S. Koenig

Distributed constraint optimization (DCOP) problems are a popular way of formulating and solving agent-coordination problems. A DCOP problem is a problem where several agents coordinate their values such that the sum of the resulting constraint costs is minimal. It is often desirable to solve DCOP problems with memory-bounded and asynchronous algorithms. We introduce Branch-and-Bound ADOPT (BnB-ADOPT), a memory-bounded asynchronous DCOP search algorithm that uses the message-passing and communication framework of ADOPT (Modi, Shen, Tambe, and Yokoo, 2005), a well known memory-bounded asynchronous DCOP search algorithm, but changes the search strategy of ADOPT from best-first search to depth-first branch-and-bound search. Our experimental results show that BnB-ADOPT finds cost-minimal solutions up to one order of magnitude faster than ADOPT for a variety of large DCOP problems and is as fast as NCBB, a memory-bounded synchronous DCOP search algorithm, for most of these DCOP problems. Additionally, it is often desirable to find bounded-error solutions for DCOP problems within a reasonable amount of time since finding cost-minimal solutions is NP-hard. The existing bounded-error approximation mechanism allows users only to specify an absolute error bound on the solution cost but a relative error bound is often more intuitive. Thus, we present two new bounded-error approximation mechanisms that allow for relative error bounds and implement them on top of BnB-ADOPT.


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