This article describes in brief the design of agent-based negotiation system in e-marketing. Such a negotiation scheme requires the construction of a suitable set of rules, called protocol, among the participating agents. The construction of the protocol is carried out in two stages: first expressing a program into an object-based rule system and then converting the rule applications into a set of agent-based transactions on a database of active objects represented using high-level data structures.
A Multi-Agent System
A simple model of an agent that is suitable for our purpose is shown in Figure 1. This is a unified model based on several important contributions made by the following authors: (Chen & Dayal, 2000; Dignum & Sierra, 2001; Fisher, 1995; Genesereth & Nilsson, 1987; Ishida, 1994; Murthy, 2002; Woolridge, 2002).
As shown in Figure 1, an agent consists of the following subsystems:
Worldly states or environment U: Those states which completely describe the universe containing all the agents.
Percept: Depending upon the sensory capabilities (input interface to the universe or environment), an agent can partition U into a standard set of messages T, using a sensory function Perception (PERCEPT): PERCEPT:U → T.
PERCEPT can involve various types of perception: see, read, hear, smell. The messages are assumed to be of standard types based on an interaction language that is interpreted identically by all agents.
Epistemic states or Mind M: We assume that the agent has a mind M (that is essentially a problem domain knowledge consisting of an internal database for the problem domain data and a set of problem domain rules) that can be clearly understood by the agent without involving any sensory function. The database D sentences are in first order predicate calculus (also known as extensional database) and agents’ mental actions are viewed as inferences arising from the associated rules that result in an intentional database, whcih changes (revises or updates) D.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Agent: A system that is capable of perceiving events in its environment, or representing information about the current state of affairs and of acting in its environment guided by perceptions and stored information (current definition by AOIS, agent oriented information system community).
Negotiation Protocol: A negotiation protocol is viewed as a set of public rules that dictate the conduct of an agent with other agents to achieve a desired final outcome.
Protocols: A set of rules that dictate the behavior of objects for communication and interaction.
Negotiation: This is an interactive process among a number of agents that results in varying degrees of cooperation, competition and ultimately to commitment that leads to a total agreement, consensus governed by a voting policy, or a disagreement.
E-Auction: This is a centralized protocol for redistributing resources among agents. Each agent attaches a value to each resource. The seller asks a price for a resource and buyer offers a price and they negotiate over the Internet to achieve a desired outcome satisfying to both; else the negotiation fails.
Coordinator: An that acts as a coordinator among several agents to carry out the negotiation protocol.