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Constraint-based decision makers in negotiation processes

Jean-Marc Andreoli, Stefania Castellani
Computer supported negotiation processes are recurrent in may applications, typically to coordinate a set of autonomous decision-makers in order to allow them to reach consensus on negotiated issues. In previous papers, we have presented Xplore, a generic model and tool for the design of such coordination, based on an explicit representation of negotiation decisions, possibly with multiple alternatives, and dependencies between them. Xplore capture only the most generic features of negotiation processes and subsumes a wide range of existing negotiation protocols and schemes. In this paper, we show how to build an interesting class of components capable of taking part in Xplore coordinated negotiations. Decision makers of that class are entirely automatic, and their role is to ensure that constraints, normally set by the coordinator of a negotiation, are respected throughout the execution of the negotiation process. We show how to derive such components from arbitrary constraint solvers working by propagation on finite domains, a class of solvers which has been widely investigated in the literature and is nowadays available in many commercial products.
The 2004 IFIP International Conference on Decision Support Systems (DSS 2004), Prato, Tuscany, Italy, 1-3 July 2004.