This paper presents a new way of formalizing the coalition structure generation problem (CSG) so that we can apply constraint optimization techniques to it. Forming effective coalitions is a major research challenge in AI and multi-agent systems. CSG involves partitioning a set of agents into coalitions to maximize social surplus. Traditionally, the input of the CSG problem is a black-box function called a characteristic function, which takes a coalition as input and returns the value of the coalition. As a result, applying constraint optimization techniques to this problem has been infeasible. However, characteristic functions that appear in practice often can be represented concisely by a set of rules, rather than treating the function as a black box. Then we can solve the CSG problem more efficiently by directly applying constraint optimization techniques to this compact representation. We present new formalizations of the CSG problem by utilizing recently developed compact representation schemes for characteristic functions. We first characterize the complexity of CSG under these representation schemes. In this context, the complexity is driven more by the number of rules than by the number of agents. As an initial step toward developing efficient constraint optimization algorithms for solving the CSG problem, we also develop mixed integer programming formulations and show that an off-the-shelf optimization package can perform reasonably well.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Artificial Intelligence