DM Reeves, MP Wellman, and BN Grosof

Computational Intelligence, 18:482–500, 2002.
Copyright © 2002 Blackwell Publishing.


Our approach for automating the negotiation of business contracts proceeds in three broad steps. First, determine the structure of the negotiation process by applying general knowledge about auctions and domain-specific knowledge about the contract subject along with preferences from potential buyers and sellers. Second, translate the determined negotiation structure into an operational specification for an auction platform. Third, after the negotiation has completed, map the negotiation results to a final contract.We have implemented a prototype which supports these steps by employing a declarative specification (in Courteous Logic Programs) of (1) high-level knowledge about alternative negotiation structures, (2) general-case rules about auction parameters, (3) rules to map the auction parameters to a specific auction platform, and (4) special-case rules for subject domains. We demonstrate the flexibility of this approach by automatically generating several alternative negotiation structures for the domain of travel shopping in a trading agent competition.

Revised and extended version of a paper presented at the Fifth International Conference on Autonomous Agents, May 2001. (Winner of Outstanding Student Paper Award for Daniel Reeves.)