(EC) is changing the way business is getting done in the Information
Age. To gain a competitive edge, businesses are in need of
new computational models and infrastructure. To address this
need, we are developing a model of inter-organizational electronic
commerce. According to this model, different users are represented
by autonomous software agents interconnected via the Internet.
The agents act on behalf of their human users/organizations
to perform information gathering tasks, such as locating and
accessing information from various sources, filtering unwanted
information, and providing decision support. Our goal is to
coordinate software agents in supply chains dynamically and
flexibly so that goods and services can be delivered cost-effectively
and when needed.
As an initial problem
domain, 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.
The testbed system
(see figure 2) consists of a coalition server, an auctioneer
agent, 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.
Agents 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 accordingly to projected
sizes of coalitions. After the reverse auction is complete,
the coalition server opens the coalition to new members, which
can join the group if they meet the entrance requirements.
After the group is formed, the coalition server proceeds to
execute the transaction.
Institute Project Page
For more information
on our Ecommerce projects, see the following web pages and/or
Resources Web Pages: Front Door
Maksim, and Sycara, Katia "Customer
Coalitions in Electronic Markets", ACM Conference
on Electronic Commerce 2000, Minnesota, MN, October, 17-20,
M., Sycara, K., Chen, Y. and Ying, J. "Customer
Coalitions in the Electronic Marketplace", Agents
2000 Conference, Barcelona, Spain, June 3- June 8, 2000.
- D. Zeng and
K. Sycara. Dynamic Supply Chain
Structuring for Electronic Commerce Among Agents. in Intelligent Information Agents, Chapter
10. Springer, 1999.
- D. Zeng and
K. Sycara. Bayesian Learning
in Negotiation. International Journal of Human-Computer
Studies 48 (1998): 125-41.