Coalition formation for large-scale electronic markets

K. Lerman, O. Shehory

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

107 Scopus citations


Coalition formation is a desirable behavior in a multiagent system, when a group of agents can perform a task more efficiently than any single agent can. Computational and communications complexity of traditional approaches to coalition formation, e.g., through negotiation, make them impractical for large systems. We propose an alternative, physics-motivated mechanism for coalition formation that treats agents as randomly moving, locally interacting entities. A new coalition may form when two agents encounter one another and it may grow when a single agent encounters it. Such agent-level behavior leads to a macroscopic model that describes how the number and distribution of coalitions change with time. We increase the generality and complexity of the model by letting the agents leave coalitions with some probability. The model is expressed mathematically as a series of differential equations. These equations have steady state solutions that describe the equilibrium distribution of coalitions. Within a context of a specific multi-agent application, we analyze and discuss the connection between the global system utility the parameters of the model.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 4th International Conference on MultiAgent Systems, ICMAS 2000
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)0769506259, 9780769506258
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes
Event4th International Conference on MultiAgent Systems, ICMAS 2000 - Boston, United States
Duration: 10 Jul 200012 Jul 2000

Publication series

NameProceedings - 4th International Conference on MultiAgent Systems, ICMAS 2000


Conference4th International Conference on MultiAgent Systems, ICMAS 2000
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This material is based on work supported in part by MURI contract N00014-96-1222, DARPA contract F30602-98-2-0138, NSF grant IRI-9612131 and an ISI-ISD Research Fund Award.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2000 IEEE.


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