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A Scalable Method for Multiagent Constraint Optimization
"... We present in this paper a new, complete method for distributed constraint optimization, based on dynamic programming. It is a utility propagation method, inspired by the sumproduct algorithm, which is correct only for treeshaped constraint networks. In this paper, we show how to extend that algor ..."
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Cited by 179 (18 self)
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We present in this paper a new, complete method for distributed constraint optimization, based on dynamic programming. It is a utility propagation method, inspired by the sumproduct algorithm, which is correct only for treeshaped constraint networks. In this paper, we show how to extend that algorithm to arbitrary topologies using a pseudotree arrangement of the problem graph. Our algorithm requires a linear number of messages, whose maximal size depends on the induced width along the particular pseudotree chosen. We compare our algorithm with backtracking algorithms, and present experimental results. For some problem types we report orders of magnitude fewer messages, and the ability to deal with arbitrarily large problems. Our algorithm is formulated for optimization problems, but can be easily applied to satisfaction problems as well.
Distributed constraint satisfaction and optimization with privacy enforcement
 In 3rd IC on Intelligent Agent Technology
, 2004
"... Several naturally distributed negotiation/cooperation problems with privacy requirements can be modeled within the distributed constraint satisfaction framework, where the constraints are secrets of the participants. Most of the existing techniques aim at various tradeoffs between complexity and pri ..."
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Cited by 49 (10 self)
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Several naturally distributed negotiation/cooperation problems with privacy requirements can be modeled within the distributed constraint satisfaction framework, where the constraints are secrets of the participants. Most of the existing techniques aim at various tradeoffs between complexity and privacy guarantees, while others aim to maximize privacy first [12, 7, 3, 4, 11]. In [7] we introduced a first technique allowing agents to solve distributed constraint problems (DisCSPs), without revealing anything and without trusting each other or some server. The technique we propose now is a dm times improvement for m variables of domain size d. On the negative side, the fastest versions of the new technique require storing of O(d m) big integers. From a practical point of view, we improve the privacy with which these problems can be solved, and improve the efficiency with which ⌊n−1/2⌋privacy can be achieved, while it remains inapplicable for larger problems. The technique of [7] has a simple extension to optimization for distributed weighted CSPs. However, that obvious extension leaks to everybody sensitive information concerning the quality of the computed solution. We found a way to avoid this leak, which constitutes another contribution of this paper. 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 42 (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
Planning the Project Management Way: Efficient Planning by Effective Integration of Causal and Resource Reasoning in RealPlan
 Artificial Intelligence
, 2000
"... In most realworld reasoning problems, planning and scheduling phases are loosely coupled. For example, in project planning, the user comes up with a task list and schedules it with a scheduling tool like Microsoft Project. One can view automated planning in a similar way in which there is an action ..."
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Cited by 41 (13 self)
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In most realworld reasoning problems, planning and scheduling phases are loosely coupled. For example, in project planning, the user comes up with a task list and schedules it with a scheduling tool like Microsoft Project. One can view automated planning in a similar way in which there is an action selection phase where actions are selected and ordered to reach the desired goals, and a resource allocation phase where enough resources are assigned to ensure the successful execution of the chosen actions. On the other hand, most existing automated planners studied in Artificial Intelligence do not exploit this loosecoupling and perform both action selection and resource assignment employing the same algorithm. The current work shows that the above strategy severely curtails the scaleup potential of existing state of the art planners which can be overcome by leveraging the loose coupling. Specifically, a novel planning framework called RealPlan is developed in which resource allocatio...
Open constraint programming
 ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE 161 (2005) 181–208
, 2005
"... Traditionally, constraint satisfaction problems (CSP) have assumed closedworld scenarios where all domains and constraints are fixed from the beginning. With the Internet, many of the traditional CSP applications in resource allocation, scheduling and planning pose themselves in openworld settings ..."
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Cited by 38 (5 self)
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Traditionally, constraint satisfaction problems (CSP) have assumed closedworld scenarios where all domains and constraints are fixed from the beginning. With the Internet, many of the traditional CSP applications in resource allocation, scheduling and planning pose themselves in openworld settings, where domains and constraints must be discovered from different sources in a network. To model this scenario, we define open constraint satisfaction problems (OCSP) as CSP where domains and constraints are incrementally discovered through a network. We then extend the concept to open constraint optimization (OCOP). OCSP can be solved without complete knowledge of the variable domains, and we give sound and complete algorithms. We show that OCOP require the additional assumption that variable domains and relations are revealed in nondecreasing order of preference. We present a variety of algorithms for solving OCOP in the possibilistic and weighted model. We compare the algorithms through experiments on randomly generated problems. We show that in certain cases, open constraint programming can require significantly less information than traditional methods where gathering information and solving the CSP are separated. This leads to a reduction in network traffic and server load, and improves privacy in distributed problem solving.
Asynchronous partial overlay: A new algorithm for solving distributed constraint satisfaction problems
 Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research (JAIR
, 2006
"... Distributed Constraint Satisfaction (DCSP) has long been considered an important problem in multiagent systems research. This is because many realworld problems can be represented as constraint satisfaction and these problems often present themselves in a distributed form. In this article, we pres ..."
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Cited by 35 (5 self)
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Distributed Constraint Satisfaction (DCSP) has long been considered an important problem in multiagent systems research. This is because many realworld problems can be represented as constraint satisfaction and these problems often present themselves in a distributed form. In this article, we present a new complete, distributed algorithm called asynchronous partial overlay (APO) for solving DCSPs that is based on a cooperative mediation process. The primary ideas behind this algorithm are that agents, when acting as a mediator, centralize small, relevant portions of the DCSP, that these centralized subproblems overlap, and that agents increase the size of their subproblems along critical paths within the DCSP as the problem solving unfolds. We present empirical evidence that shows that APO outperforms other known, complete DCSP techniques. 1.
Message delay and DisCSP search algorithms
 ANN MATH ARTIF INTELL (2006 ) 46 : 415–439
, 2006
"... Distributed constraint satisfaction problems (DisCSPs) are composed of agents, each holding its own variables, that are connected by constraints to variables of other agents. Due to the distributed nature of the problem, message delay can have unexpected effects on the behavior of distributed searc ..."
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Cited by 32 (18 self)
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Distributed constraint satisfaction problems (DisCSPs) are composed of agents, each holding its own variables, that are connected by constraints to variables of other agents. Due to the distributed nature of the problem, message delay can have unexpected effects on the behavior of distributed search algorithms on DisCSPs. This has been recently shown in experimental studies of asynchronous backtracking algorithms (Bejar et al., Artif. Intell., 161:117–148, 2005; Silaghi and Faltings, Artif. Intell., 161:25–54, 2005). To evaluate the impact of message delay on the run of DisCSP search algorithms, a model for distributed performance measures is presented. The model counts the number of non concurrent constraints checks, to arrive at a solution, as a non concurrent measure of distributed computation. A simpler version measures distributed computation cost by the nonconcurrent number of steps of computation. An algorithm for computing these distributed measures of computational effort is described. The realization of the model for measuring performance of distributed search algorithms is a simulator which includes the cost of message delays. Two families of distributed search algorithms on DisCSPs are investigated. Algorithms that run a single search process, and multiple search processes algorithms. The two families of algorithms are described and associated with existing algorithms. The performance of three representative algorithms of these two families is measured on randomly generated instances of DisCSPs with delayed messages. The delay of messages is found to have a strong negative effect on single search process algorithms, whether synchronous or asynchronous. Multi