initial problem domain in Ecommerce,
we chose collective book purchasing. In the university setting,
relatively large numbers of students enrolled in the same
classes purchase the same required books. Such groups can
be bundled as coalitions, given the ease of payment collection,
distribution of goods, and the potentially large number of
users involved in the system.
system (see figure 2) consists of a coalition server, an auctioneer
agent, a set of supplier agents, and a web-based interface
for end users. The system is based on a simple pre-negotiation
protocol and a variation of sealed-bid reverse auction that
allows suppliers to disclose their discount policies.
use the WWW interface to conduct reverse auctions with supplier
agents. The supplier agents, in turn, are given a step function
volume discount schedule and make their bids according to
projected sizes of coalitions. After the reverse auction is
complete, the coalition server opens the coalition to new
members, who can join the group if they meet the entrance
requirements. After the group is formed, the coalition server
proceeds to execute the transaction.
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