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PRIMA 2020 Automated Negotiation in Supply Chain Management Tutorial

Welcome to the PRIMA 2020 automated negotiation in SCM tutorial. Here you can find all the material you need for this tutorial as well as useful links for further research in this area.

Duration

Two hours. Anytime starting 3PM JPT (8AM GMT)

Description

Automated negotiation between intelligent agents is attracting more attention from the research community especially with the wider market penetration of intelligent agents and the need to coordinate their behavior. The International Automated Negotiating Agents Competition (ANAC) provided stimulation for this research since its introduction in 2010. Since 2019, a new league was added to ANAC focusing on application of automated negotiation in a realistic business-like Supply Chain Management scenario (SCML). This tutorial will introduce you to the SCML and walk them through the development of an agent for the competition highlighting the research challenges involved.

Target Audience

The target audience are postgraduate students and researchers in the fields of multi-agent systems, game theory, simulation, and practical applications of MAS.

Prerequisite Knowledge

The tutorial will introduce the concepts it needs and is a beginner-level tutorial so the prerequisites are minimal. Knowledge of automated negotiation basics like pareto-optimality, SAOP, etc is a plus but not required.

Motivation

Why is it interesting?

The main goal of the SCM league is to bring automated negotiation research more toward the real world by putting negotiation into a larger context from which endogenous utility functions are created instead of being predefined. This game provides amble opportunities for novel ideas in concurrent negotiation, utility function design, and applying machine learning techniques to automated negotiation.

What will you walk away with?

You will walk with a firm grasp on the research problems involved in SCM league and will have hands-on experience in developing a basic agent for it. That will help them in developing competing agents for next iterations of the competition; but, more importantly, it will provide crisp examples of the research issues surrounding concurrent and situated negotiation.

Detailed Outline of the tutorial

The tutorial will consist of two main parts with a $10$-min break.

  • Theoretical Session (40min) This part of the tutorial introduces the ANAC competition and the SCML describing the canonical structure of agent decomposition for the competition

    • The negotiation problem (5min) Different definitions of the negotiation problem, negotiation protocol, main differences between negotiations and auctions.
    • ANAC (5min) A short history of the ANAC competition.
    • SCM World (10min) Introduces the game design for SCML.
    • Why SCML (5min) Provides the rationale behind the SCML design.
    • Agent decomposition (15min) Introduces the decomposition of SCML agents into two inter-related components: The trading strategy, negotiation strategy, production strategy, and signing strategy.
  • break (5min)

  • Development Environment (15min) A hands-on installation and configuration tutorial

    • Installing SCML (5min) Goes through the process of installation and configuration for the SCML package with the underlying NegMAS platform and the repository of SCML agents.
    • Running a simulatoin (5min) Goes through the process of running a single simulation and understanding log files.
    • Runing tournaments (5min) Introduces tournaments and their parameters as well as methods ensure that comparisons are fair when running tournaments.
  • break (5min)

  • Live Development of an agent (20min) Provides a hands-on demo for developing an agent for the SCM world.

    • An ML based trading strategy (10min) Develops a trading strategy that uses ML for predicting various aspects of the SCM world simulation.
    • Putting it all together (10min) Combines the developed trading strategy with built-in components to create a complete agent for SCML
  • Development Example (30min) This final part of the tutorial aims at giving the participants confidence that they could grasp the general structure of an SCML agent and that they can develop an agent for the competition and/or participate in related research in the future. We propose two alternatives here. Depending on the readiness of the participants will will either do a hands-on hackathon or a study of existing strategies for the league.

    • Examples of Agent Strategies (30min) This part of the tutorial will walk the participants through the strategies used by some of the finalists in SCML2020 highlighting the different ways for improving upon the builtin agents.
    • Hands-on hackathon (30min) Participants will be given 30min to develop their own agent focusing on modifying a single component of the newly developed agent. The main goal of this step is \emph{not} to come up with a strong agent but to make sure that the participant have understood the structure of the agent and build confidence in her/his ability to develop a real agent for future competitions.
  • Conclusions (5min) The tutorial will be wrapped-up by a summary of the information introduced in the first session about automatic negotiation and will provide interesting directions of research inviting the audience to actively participating in pushing forward this exciting domain.

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