Automatized Decision Making for Autonomous Agents

Automatized Decision Making for Autonomous Agents

Love Ekenberg, Mats Danielson
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 7
DOI: 10.4018/ijimr.2013070102
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Utility theory and the principle of maximising the expected utility have, within the multi-agent community, had a great influence on multi-agent based decision. Even though this principle is often useful when evaluating a decision situation it is virtually impossible, except in very artificial situations, to use the more basic decision rules with its unrealistically strong requirements for the input data, and other candidate methods must be considered instead. This article provides an overview and brings attention to some of the possibilities to utilize more elaborated decision methods, while still keeping the computational issues at a tractable level.
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Decision Theory

Ramsey (1926/78) was the first to suggest a theory that integrated ideas on subjective probability and utility in presenting (informally) a general set of axioms for preference comparisons between acts with uncertain outcomes (probabilistic decisions). von Neumann and Morgenstern (1947) established the foundations for a modern theory of utility. They stated a set of axioms that they deemed reasonable to a rational decision-maker (such as an agent), and demonstrated that the agent should prefer the alternative with the highest expected utility, given that she acted in accordance with the axioms. This is the principle of maximizing the expected utility. Savage (1954/72) published a thorough treatment of a complete theory of subjective expected utility. Savage, von Neumann, and others structured decision analysis by proposing reasonable principles governing decisions and by constructing a theory out of them. In other words, they (and later many others) formulated a set of axioms meant to justify their particular attitude towards the utility principle, cf., e.g., Herstein and Milnor (1953), Suppes (1956), Jeffrey (1965/83), and Luce and Krantz (1971). In classical decision analysis, of the theories suggested by Savage and others, a widespread opinion is that utility theory captures the concept of rationality. After Raiffa (1968), probabilistic decision models are nowadays often given a tree representation.

A decision tree consists of a root, representing a decision, a set of event nodes, representing some kind of uncertainty and consequence nodes, representing possible final outcomes. Usually, the decision is symbolised by a square, circles symbolise events, and final consequences are denoted by triangles. Events unfold from left to right, until final consequences are reached. There may also be more than one decision to make, in which case the sub-decisions are made before the main decision.

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