A Negotiating Strategy for a Hybrid Goal Function in Multilateral Negotiation

Alon Stern, Sarit Kraus, David Sarne

In various multi-agent negotiation settings, a negotiator's utility depends, either partially or fully, on the sum of negotiators' utilities (i.e., social welfare). While the need for effective negotiating-agent designs that take into account social welfare has been acknowledged in recent work, and even established as a category in automated negotiating agent competitions, very few designs have been proposed to date. In this paper, we present the design principles and results of an extensive evaluation of agent HerbT+, a negotiating agent aiming to maximize a linear tradeoff between individual and social welfare. Our evaluation framework relies on the automated negotiating agents competition (ANAC) and includes a thorough comparison of performance with the top 15 agents submitted between 2015-2018 based on negotiations involving 63 agents submitted to these competitions. We find that, except for a few minor exceptions, when social-welfare plays a substantial role in the agent's goal function, our agent outperforms all other tested designs.

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