AAAI Publications, Workshops at the Twenty-Fifth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

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Detecting and Identifying Coalitions
Reid Kerr, Robin Cohen

Last modified: 2011-08-24

Abstract


In many multiagent scenarios, groups of participants (known as coalitions) may attempt to cooperate, seeking to increase the benefits realized by the members. Depending on the scenario, such cooperation may be benign, or may be unwelcome or even forbidden (often called collusion). Coalitions can present a problem for many multiagent systems, potentially undermining the intended operation of systems. In this paper, we present a technique for detecting the presence of coalitions (malicious or otherwise), and identifying their members. Our technique employs clustering in benefit space, a high-dimensional feature space reflecting the benefit flowing between agents, in order to identify groups of agents who are similar in terms of the agents they are favoring. A statistical approach is then used to characterize candidate clusters, identifying as coalitions those groups that favor their own members to a much greater degree than the general population. We believe that our approach is applicable to a wide range of domains. Here, we demonstrate its effectiveness within a simulated marketplace making use of a trust and reputation system to cope with dishonest sellers. Many trust and reputation proposals readily acknowledge their ineffectiveness in the face of collusion, providing one example of the importance of the problem. While certain aspects of coalitions have received significant attention (e.g., formation, stability, etc.), relatively little research has focused on the problem of coalition identification. We believe our research represents an important step towards addressing the challenges posed by coalitions.

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