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Balancing Conflict and Cost in the Selection of Negotiation Opponents

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Within the context of agent-to-agent purchase negotiations, a problem that has received little attention is that of identifying negotiation opponents in situations where the consequences of conflict and the ability to access resources dynamically vary. Such dynamism poses a number of problems that make it difficult to automate the identification of appropriate opponents. To that end, this paper describes a motivation-based opponent selection mechanism used by a buyer-agent to evaluate and select between an already identified set of seller-agents. Sellers are evaluated in terms of the amount of conflict they are expected to bring to a negotiation and the expected amount of cost a negotiation with them will entail. The mechanism allows trade-offs to be made between conflict and cost minimisation, and experimental results show the effectiveness of the approach.

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