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133
Allocating Tasks in Extreme Teams
 AAMAS'05
, 2005
"... Extreme teams, largescale agent teams operating in dynamic environments, are on the horizon. Such environments are problematic for current task allocation algorithms due to the lack of locality in agent interactions. We propose a novel distributed task allocation algorithm for extreme teams, called ..."
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Cited by 68 (19 self)
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Extreme teams, largescale agent teams operating in dynamic environments, are on the horizon. Such environments are problematic for current task allocation algorithms due to the lack of locality in agent interactions. We propose a novel distributed task allocation algorithm for extreme teams, called LADCOP, that incorporates three key ideas. First, LADCOP's task allocation is based on a dynamically computed minimum capability threshold which uses approximate knowledge of overall task load. Second, LADCOP uses tokens to represent tasks and further minimize communication. Third, it creates potential tokens to deal with intertask constraints of simultaneous execution. We show that LADCOP convincingly outperforms competing distributed task allocation algorithms while using orders of magnitude fewer messages, allowing a dramatic scaleup in extreme teams, upto a fully distributed, proxybased team of 200 agents. Varying threshold are seen as a key to outperforming competing distributed algorithms in the domain of simulated disaster rescue.
BnBADOPT: An asynchronous branchandbound DCOP algorithm
 In Proceedings of AAMAS
, 2008
"... Abstract. Distributed constraint optimization problems (DCOPs) are a popular way of formulating and solving agentcoordination problems. It is often desirable to solve DCOPs optimally with memorybounded and asynchronous algorithms. We thus introduce BranchandBound ADOPT (BnBADOPT), a memoryboun ..."
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Cited by 64 (21 self)
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Abstract. Distributed constraint optimization problems (DCOPs) are a popular way of formulating and solving agentcoordination problems. It is often desirable to solve DCOPs optimally with memorybounded and asynchronous algorithms. We thus introduce BranchandBound ADOPT (BnBADOPT), a memorybounded asynchronous DCOP algorithm that uses the message passing and communication framework of ADOPT, a well known memorybounded asynchronous DCOP algorithm, but changes the search strategy of ADOPT from bestfirst search to depthfirst branchandbound search. Our experimental results show that BnBADOPT is up to one order of magnitude faster than ADOPT on a variety of large DCOPs and faster than NCBB, a memorybounded synchronous DCOP algorithm, on most of these DCOPs. 1
Mdpop: Faithful distributed implementation of efficient social choice problems
 In AAMAS’06  Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems
, 2006
"... In the efficient social choice problem, the goal is to assign values, subject to side constraints, to a set of variables to maximize the total utility across a population of agents, where each agent has private information about its utility function. In this paper we model the social choice problem ..."
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Cited by 48 (17 self)
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In the efficient social choice problem, the goal is to assign values, subject to side constraints, to a set of variables to maximize the total utility across a population of agents, where each agent has private information about its utility function. In this paper we model the social choice problem as a distributed constraint optimization problem (DCOP), in which each agent can communicate with other agents that share an interest in one or more variables. Whereas existing DCOP algorithms can be easily manipulated by an agent, either by misreporting private information or deviating from the algorithm, we introduce MDPOP, the first DCOP algorithm that provides a faithful distributed implementation for efficient social choice. This provides a concrete example of how the methods of mechanism design can be unified with those of distributed optimization. Faithfulness ensures that no agent can benefit by unilaterally deviating from any aspect of the protocol, neither informationrevelation, computation, nor communication, and whatever the private information of other agents. We allow for payments by agents to a central bank, which is the only central authority that we require. To achieve faithfulness, we carefully integrate the VickreyClarkeGroves (VCG) mechanism with the DPOP algorithm, such that each agent is only asked to perform computation, report
Asynchronous forwardbounding for distributed constraints optimization
 In: Proc. 1st Intern. Workshop on Distributed and Speculative Constraint Processing. (2005
, 2006
"... A new search algorithm for solving distributed constraint optimization problems (DisCOPs) is presented. Agents assign variables sequentially and propagate their assignments asynchronously. The asynchronous forwardbounding algorithm (AFB) is a distributed optimization search algorithm that keeps one ..."
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Cited by 47 (8 self)
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A new search algorithm for solving distributed constraint optimization problems (DisCOPs) is presented. Agents assign variables sequentially and propagate their assignments asynchronously. The asynchronous forwardbounding algorithm (AFB) is a distributed optimization search algorithm that keeps one consistent partial assignment at all times. Forward bounding propagates the bounds on the cost of solutions by sending copies of the partial assignment to all unassigned agents concurrently. The algorithm is described in detail and its correctness proven. Experimental evaluation of AFB on random MaxDisCSPs reveals a phase transition as the tightness of the problem increases. This effect is analogous to the phase transition of MaxCSP when local consistency maintenance is applied [3]. AFB outperforms Synchronous Branch & Bound (SBB) as well as the asynchronous stateoftheart ADOPT algorithm, for the harder problem instances. Both asynchronous algorithms outperform SBB by a large factor. 1
Distributed algorithms for DCOP: A graphicalgamebased approach
 In PDCS
, 2004
"... This paper addresses the application of distributed constraint optimization problems (DCOPs) to largescale dynamic environments. We introduce a decomposition of DCOP into a graphical game and investigate the evolution of various stochastic and deterministic algorithms. We also develop techniques th ..."
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Cited by 39 (13 self)
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This paper addresses the application of distributed constraint optimization problems (DCOPs) to largescale dynamic environments. We introduce a decomposition of DCOP into a graphical game and investigate the evolution of various stochastic and deterministic algorithms. We also develop techniques that allow for coordinated negotiation while maintaining distributed control of variables. We prove monotonicity properties of certain approaches and detail arguments about equilibrium sets that offer insight into the tradeoffs involved in leveraging efficiency and solution quality. The algorithms and ideas were tested and illustrated on several graph coloring domains. 1.
Letting loose a SPIDER on a network of POMDPs: Generating quality guaranteed policies
 In AAMAS
, 2007
"... Distributed Partially Observable Markov Decision Problems (Distributed POMDPs) are a popular approach for modeling multiagent systems acting in uncertain domains. Given the significant complexity of solving distributed POMDPs, particularly as we scale up the numbers of agents, one popular approach ..."
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Cited by 36 (5 self)
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Distributed Partially Observable Markov Decision Problems (Distributed POMDPs) are a popular approach for modeling multiagent systems acting in uncertain domains. Given the significant complexity of solving distributed POMDPs, particularly as we scale up the numbers of agents, one popular approach has focused on approximate solutions. Though this approach is efficient, the algorithms within this approach do not provide any guarantees on solution quality. A second less popular approach focuses on global optimality, but typical results are available only for two agents, and also at considerable computational cost. This paper overcomes the limitations of both these approaches by providing SPIDER, a novel combination of three key features for policy generation in distributed POMDPs: (i) it exploits agent interaction structure given a network of agents (i.e. allowing easier scaleup to larger number of agents); (ii) it uses a combination of heuristics to speedup policy search; and (iii) it allows quality guaranteed approximations, allowing a systematic tradeoff of solution quality for time. Experimental results show orders of magnitude improvement in performance when compared with previous global optimal algorithms.
Evaluating the Performance of DCOP Algorithms in a Real World, Dynamic Problem
, 2008
"... Complete algorithms have been proposed to solve problems modelled as distributed constraint optimization (DCOP). However, there are only few attempts to address real world scenarios using this formalism, mainly because of the complexity associated with those algorithms. In the present work we compar ..."
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Cited by 31 (1 self)
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Complete algorithms have been proposed to solve problems modelled as distributed constraint optimization (DCOP). However, there are only few attempts to address real world scenarios using this formalism, mainly because of the complexity associated with those algorithms. In the present work we compare three complete algorithms for DCOP, aiming at studying how they perform in complex and dynamic scenarios of increasing sizes. In order to assess their performance we measure not only standard quantities such as number of cycles to arrive to a solution, size and quantity of exchanged messages, but also computing time and quality of the solution which is related to the particular domain we use. This study can shed light in the issues of how the algorithms perform when applied to problems other than those reported in the literature (graph coloring, meeting scheduling, and distributed sensor network).
Odpop: An algorithm for open/distributed constraint optimization
 In AAAI
, 2006
"... Abstract. We propose ODPOP, a new distributed algorithm for open multiagent combinatorial optimization [3]. The ODOP algorithm explores the same search space as the dynamic programming algorithm DPOP [10] or the AND/OR search algorithm AOBB [2], but does so in an incremental, bestfirst fashion suit ..."
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Cited by 30 (6 self)
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Abstract. We propose ODPOP, a new distributed algorithm for open multiagent combinatorial optimization [3]. The ODOP algorithm explores the same search space as the dynamic programming algorithm DPOP [10] or the AND/OR search algorithm AOBB [2], but does so in an incremental, bestfirst fashion suitable for open problems. ODPOP has several advantages over DPOP. First, it uses messages whose size only grows linearly with the treewidth of the problem. Second, by letting agents explore values in a nonincreasing order of preference, it saves a significant amount of messages and computation over the basic DPOP algorithm. To show the merits of our approach, we report on experiments with practically sized distributed meeting scheduling problems in a multiagent system. 1
Privacy loss in distributed constraint reasoning: A quantitative framework for analysis and its applications
, 2006
"... It is critical that agents deployed in realworld settings, such as businesses, offices, universities and research laboratories, protect their individual users ’ privacy when interacting with other entities. Indeed, privacy is recognized as a key motivating factor in the design of several multiagent ..."
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Cited by 28 (2 self)
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It is critical that agents deployed in realworld settings, such as businesses, offices, universities and research laboratories, protect their individual users ’ privacy when interacting with other entities. Indeed, privacy is recognized as a key motivating factor in the design of several multiagent algorithms, such as in distributed constraint reasoning (including both algorithms for distributed constraint optimization (DCOP) and distributed constraint satisfaction (DisCSPs)), and researchers have begun to propose metrics for analysis of privacy loss in such multiagent algorithms. Unfortunately, a general quantitative framework to compare these existing metrics for privacy loss or to identify dimensions along which to construct new metrics is currently lacking. This paper presents three key contributions to address this shortcoming. First, the paper presents VPS (Valuations of Possible States), a general quantitative framework to express, analyze and compare existing metrics of privacy loss. Based on a statespace model, VPS is shown to capture various existing measures of privacy created for specific domains of DisCSPs. The utility of VPS is further illustrated through analysis of privacy loss in DCOP algorithms, when such algorithms are used by personal assistant agents to schedule meetings
An analysis of privacy loss in distributed constraint optimization
 In AAAI
, 2006
"... Distributed Constraint Optimization (DCOP) is rapidly emerging as a prominent technique for multiagent coordination. However, despite agent privacy being a key motivation for applying DCOPs in many applications, rigorous quantitative evaluations of privacy loss in DCOP algorithms have been lacking. ..."
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Cited by 21 (7 self)
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Distributed Constraint Optimization (DCOP) is rapidly emerging as a prominent technique for multiagent coordination. However, despite agent privacy being a key motivation for applying DCOPs in many applications, rigorous quantitative evaluations of privacy loss in DCOP algorithms have been lacking. Recently, [Maheswaran et al.2005] introduced a framework for quantitative evaluations of privacy in DCOP algorithms, showing that some DCOP algorithms lose more privacy than purely centralized approaches and questioning the motivation for applying DCOPs. This paper addresses the question of whether stateofthe art DCOP algorithms suffer from a similar shortcoming by investigating several of the most efficient DCOP algorithms, including both DPOP and ADOPT. Furthermore, while previous work investigated the impact on efficiency of distributed contraint reasoning design decisions (e.g. constraintgraph topology, asynchrony, messagecontents), this paper examines the privacy aspect of such decisions, providing an improved understanding of privacyefficiency tradeoffs.