Distributing Coalitional Value Calculations among Cooperative Agents

Talal Rahwan, Nicholas R. Jennings

The process of forming coalitions of software agents generally requires calculating a value for every possible coalition which indicates how beneficial that coalition would be if it was formed. Now, since the number of possible coalitions increases exponentially with the number of agents involved, having one agent calculate all the values is inefficient. Given this, we present a novel algorithm for distributing this calculation among agents in cooperative environments. Specifically, by using our algorithm, each agent is assigned some part of the calculation such that the agents’ shares are exhaustive and disjoint. Moreover, the algorithm is decentralized, requires no communication between the agents, and has minimal memory requirements. To evaluate the effectiveness of our algorithm we compare it with the only other algorithm available in the literature (due to Shehory and Kraus). This shows that for the case of 25 agents, the distribution process of our algorithm took 0.00037% of the time, the values were calculated using 0.000006% of the memory, the calculation redundancy was reduced from 477826101 to 0, and the total number of bytes sent between the agents dropped from 674047872 to 0 (note that for larger numbers of agents, these improvements become exponentially better).

Content Area: 1. Agents/Multiagent Systems

Subjects: 7. Distributed AI; 7.1 Multi-Agent Systems

Submitted: May 10, 2005

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