Heuristic methods for coalition structure generation
thesisposted on 2017-08-31, 08:59 authored by Amir A.B. Amir-Hussin
The Coalition Structure Generation (CSG) problem requires finding an optimal partition of a set of n agents. An optimal partition means one that maximizes global welfare. Computing an optimal coalition structure is computationally hard especially when there are externalities, i.e., when the worth of a coalition is dependent on the organisation of agents outside the coalition. A number of algorithms were previously proposed to solve the CSG problem but most of these methods were designed for systems without externalities. Very little attention has been paid to finding optimal coalition structures in the presence of externalities, although externalities are a key feature of many real world multiagent systems. Moreover, the existing methods, being non-heuristic, have exponential time complexity which means that they are infeasible for any but systems comprised of a small number of agents. The aim of this research is to develop effective heuristic methods for finding optimal coalition structures in systems with externalities, where time taken to find a solution is more important than the quality of the solution. To this end, four different heuristics methods namely tabu search, simulated annealing, ant colony search and particle swarm optimisation are explored. In particular, neighbourhood operators were devised for the effective exploration of the search space and a compact representation method was formulated for storing details about the multiagent system. Using these, the heuristic methods were devised and their performance was evaluated extensively for a wide range of input data.
- Computer Science