Acquiring an optimal amount of information for choosing from alternatives

Rina Azoulay-Schwartz, Sarit Kraus

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

7 Scopus citations


An agent operating in the real world must often choose from among alternatives in incomplete information environments, and frequently it can obtain additional information about them. Obtaining information can result in a better decision, but the agent may incur expenses for obtaining each unit of information. The problem of finding an optimal strategy for obtaining information appears in many domains. For example, in ecommerce when choosing a seller, and in solving programming problems when choosing heuristics. We focus on cases where the agent has to decide in advance on how much information to obtain about each alternative. In addition, each unit of information about an alternative gives the agent only partial information about the alternative, and the range of each information unit is continues. We first formalize the problem of deciding how many information units to obtain about each alternative, and we specify the expected utility function of the agent, given a combination of information units. This function should be maximized by choosing the optimal number of information units. We proceed by suggesting methods for finding the optimal allocation of information units between the different alternatives.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCooperative Information Agents VI - 6th International Workshop, CIA 2002, Proceedings
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)3540441735, 9783540441731
StatePublished - 2002
Event6th International Workshop on Cooperative Information Agents, CIA 2002 - Madrid, Spain
Duration: 18 Sep 200220 Sep 2002

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume2446 LNAI
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference6th International Workshop on Cooperative Information Agents, CIA 2002


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