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Agent-Based Service Composition Through Simultaneous Negotiation in Forward and Reverse Auctions

Preist, Chris; Byde, Andrew; Bartolini, Claudio

HPL-2003-198

Keyword(s): auctions; service composition; agent; negotiation

Abstract: Service composition is the act of taking several component products or services, and bundling them together to meet the needs of a given customer. In the future, service composition will play an increasingly important role in e-commerce, and automation will be desirable to improve speed and efficiency of customer response. In this paper, we consider a service composition agent that both buys components and sells services through auctions. It buys component services by participating in many English auctions. It sells composite services by participating in Request- for-Quotes reverse auctions. Because it does not hold a long-term inventory of component services, it must take risks; it must make offers in reverse auctions prior to purchasing all the components needed, and must bid in English auctions prior to having a guaranteed customer for the composite good. We present algorithms that are able to manage this risk, by appropriately bidding/offering in many auctions and reverse auctions simultaneously. The algorithms will withdraw from one set of possible auctions and move to another set if this will produce a better-expected outcome, but will effectively manage the risk of accidentally winning outstanding bids/offers during the withdrawal process. We illustrate the behavior of these algorithms through a set of worked examples.

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