A Tractable Heuristic that Maximizes Global Utility through Local Plan Combination

Eithan Ephrati, Martha E. Pollack, and Jeffrey S. Rosenschein

We consider techniques suitable for combining individual agent plans into a global system plan, maintaining a commitment to considerations of global utility that may differ radically from individual agent utilities. We present a three-stage heuristic reduction process, consisting of a transformation from local to global utility measures, a global assessment of the local evaluations of agents, and approximation algorithms to maximize resource usage over time. We also consider how these techniques can be used with self-motivated agents, and show how the overall process can be distributed among a group of agents.

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