The negotiation game

In this paper, the authors consider some of the main ideas underpinning attempts to build automated negotiators--computer programs that can effectively negotiate on our behalf. If we want to build programs that will negotiate on our behalf in some domain, then we must first define the negotiation domain and the negotiation protocol. Defining the negotiation domain simply means identifying the space of possible agreements that could be acceptable in practice. The negotiation protocol then defines the rules under which negotiation will proceed, including a rule that determines when agreement has been reached, and what will happen if the participants fail to reach agreement. One important insight is that we can view negotiation as a game, in the sense of game theory: for any given negotiation domain and protocol, negotiating agents have available to them a range of different negotiation strategies, which will result in different outcomes, and hence different benefits to them. An agent will desire to choose a negotiation strategy that will yield the best outcome for itself, but must take into account that other agents will be trying to do the same.