Autonomous adaptive agents for single seller sealed bid auctions

Anthony Bagnall, Iain E. Toft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


In developing open, heterogeneous and distributed multi-agent systems researchers often face a problem of facilitating negotiation and bargaining amongst agents. It is increasingly common to use auction mechanisms for negotiation in multi-agent systems. The choice of auction mechanism and the bidding strategy of an agent are of central importance to the success of the agent model. Our aim is to determine the best agent learning algorithm for bidding in a variety of single seller auction structures in both static environments where a known optimal strategy exists and in complex environments where the optimal strategy may be constantly changing. In this paper we present a model of single seller auctions and describe three adaptive agent algorithms to learn strategies through repeated competition. We experiment in a range of auction environments of increasing complexity to determine how well each agent performs, in relation to an optimal strategy in cases where one can be deduced, or in relation to each other in other cases. We find that, with a uniform value distribution, a purely reactive agent based on Cliff’s ZIP algorithm for continuous double auctions (CDA) performs well, although is outperformed in some cases by a memory based agent based on the Gjerstad Dickhaut agent for CDA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-292
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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