• Jean-Marc Andreoli , Stefania Castellani
In Proc. of DEXA "E-Negotiations" workshop, Munich, September 5, 2001
In today's environment of global competition/cooperation, distributed organizations often have to federate into
alliances in order to improve their ability to accomplish their customers'requests. Such alliances may establish
very tight relationships between their members, as, for example, in the "supply chain" models. We are
interested here in another kind of "business-to-business" alliances, defining only loose relations between peer,
autonomous organizations, and allowing them to negotiate services, especially with a view to outsource work
that they cannot perform alone. We are working on a platform that aims at providing support for the design of
such alliances, letting their members flexibly negotiate services, make informed decisions and consistently
enact contracts. The platform is built according to a multi-tier approach, where the lowest layers are concerned
with pure communication issues between abstract entities (agents, objects, components) and the highest
layers are concerned with the actual entities that form the application (ie. the alliance). In this paper, we focus
on an intermediate layer, the "middleware" layer, which aims at addressing general, domain-independent
requirements on the interaction infrastructure to support negotiation. In particular, we describe here the lowest
part of the middleware, namely a communication protocol to be used in the implementation of multi-party,
multi-attribute negotiation. We illustrate this protocol through an example in the domain of negotiations of print
jobs across distributed printshops.
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