MP Wellman and WE Walsh

Fourth International Conference on Multiagent Systems, pages 317–324, Boston, July 2000.


In a distributed multiagent negotiation involving multiple issues, it is often desirable to finalize deals only when all related issues are resolved. However, detecting that a multiagent negotiation has reached a globally quiescent state can be a nontrivial task in a distributed, asynchronous system. We present a quiescence detection protocol based on the Dijkstra-Scholten algorithm for distributed termination detection. The protocol operates as a layer on top of an underlying mediated negotiation protocol. If agents conform to the detection protocol, the detection process terminates iff the negotiation is quiescent. We discuss agent incentives to deviate from the protocol, and describe extensions that enforce adherence with respect to the most significant potential deviations.