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The Eager Bidder Problem - A Fundamental Problem of DAI and Selected Solutions

Michael Schillo; Klaus Fischer; Christian Kray
DFKI, DFKI Research Reports (RR), Vol. 01-03, 2001.


The contract net protocol is a widely used protocol in DAI as it proved to be a flexible and low communication interaction protocol for task assignment. It is however not clear how agents participating in a contract net should allocate their ressources, if a large number of contract nets is performed concurrently. If the agent allocates too many ressources at an early stage, it may not get its bid accepted and therefore ressources are not available for other tasks than its ressources allow for. In this paper we present an ad hoc solution and two more complex strategies for solving this problem. Furthermore, we introduce a new method based on a statistic approach. We describe these mechanisms and how they deal with the concept of commitment on different levels. There is no optimal solution for every problem setting, but each has advantages and disadvantages. Our discussion concludes with criteria for the decision on which these mechanisms is best to select for a given problem domain.