William Walsh, Michael Wellman

Paper #: 99-07-049

We analyze economic efficiency and equilibrium properties in decentralized task allocation problems involving hierarchical dependencies and resource contention. We bound the inefficiency of a type of approximate equilibrium in proportion to the number of agents and the bidding parameters in a particular market protocol. This protocol converges to an approximate equilibrium with respect to all agents, except those which may acquire unneeded inputs. We introduce a decommitment phase to allow such agents to decommit from their input contracts. Experiments indicate that the augmented market protocol produces highly efficient allocations on average.