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Negotiation is a prevalent approach to conflict resolution in the design domain.

Sycara defines negotiation to be the process by which resolution of inconsistencies is achieved in order to arrive at a coherent set of design decisions [Sycara 90]. She also argues that negotiation has to be iterative rather than a one shot process, and this complicated process is not amenable to traditional AI techniques [Sycara 88].

In Sycara's model there are four conflict situations where negotiation is used in design. These conflicts are:

The negotiation process according to Sycara [1990] proceeds as follows:

  1. Generation of proposal
  2. Generation of counter proposal based on feedback from dissenting agents
  3. Communication of justifications and supporting evidence

Sycara's agents have beliefs, intentions, and goals, and they use Case Based Reasoning (CBR) extensively during negotiation for tasks such as plan generation, plan evaluation, plan modification, and argumentation generation.

Lander and Lesser [1991] use the negotiated search paradigm for conflict resolution among heterogeneous and reusable expert agents in their TEAM framework. This paradigm allows agents to be both logically and implementationally heterogeneous. They also examine a limited but very efficient negotiated search strategy called linear compromise. Although SiFAs are different from the agents in Lander's model, some of the negotiation ideas apply.

Werkman's Designer Fabricator Interpreter (DFI) is a system where agents with different points of view cooperatively evaluate different suggestions for a design parameter [Werkman & Barone 91]. Unlike SiFA systems, DFI uses an arbitrator as a means of central control through which agents communicate. There is no direct interaction between agents.

Polat et al. [1993] describe a problem-solving environment that supports multi-agent conflict detection and resolution. They include a flowchart that describes the general conflict resolution process between agents. This has many similarities with our approach, discussed in section 6.6.

next up previous contents
Next: Single Function Agents Up: Previous Work Previous: Conflict Resolution

Ilan Berker
Thu Apr 27 16:25:38 EDT 1995