On agent types in coalition formation problems

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28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Coalitions and cooperation are key topics in multi-agent systems (MAS). They enable agents to achieve goals that they may not have been able to achieve independently. A range of previous studies have found that many problems in coalitional games tend to be computationally intractable - that is, the computational complexity grows rapidly as a function of the number of participating agents. However, these hardness results generally require that each agent is of a different type. Here, we observe that in many MAS settings, while the number of agents may grow, the number of different types of agents remains small. We formally define the notion of agent types in cooperative games. We then re-examine the computational complexity of the different coalition formation problems when assuming that the number of agent types is fixed. We show that most of the previously hard problems become polynomial when the number of agent types is fixed. We consider multiple different game formulations and representations (characteristic function with subadditive utilities, CRG, and graphical representations) and several different computational problems (including stability, core-emptiness, and Shapley value). Copyright © 2010, International Foundation for Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (www.ifaamas.org). All rights reserved.

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