Automated Bargaining Research

Computational Finance & Economics Research Laboratory
Centre for Computational Finance and Economic Agents (CCFEA)
University of Essex

Group Members:
Professor Edward Tsang (School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering)
Professor Abhinay Muthoo (ex-staff, Department of Economics)
Professor Chris Voudouris (BT, Visiting Professor in Computer Science and City Associate at CCFEA)
Qingfu Zhang (School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering)
Wudong Liu (PhD student with BT Sponsorship)
Yossi Borenstein (BT Sponsored Senior Research Officer)
Dr Nazaraf Shah (BT Sponsored Senior Research Officer)
Dr Maria Fasli (School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering)
Professor Sheri Markose (Department of Economics)

Affiliated Members:
Tim Gosling (ex-PhD student with BT Sponsorship)
Nanlin Jin (ex-PhD student)
Guannan Wang (ex-PhD student)


Game theory, devised in 1944 by John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern, is often used in a political or military context to explain conflicts between countries. More recently it has been used to map trends in the business world, ranging from how cartels set prices to how companies can better sell their goods and services in new markets. Robert Aumann and Thomas C. Schelling won the 2005 Nobel Prize in Economics for their (separate) work on game theory.

Projects in our group:

  • Flexible Workforce Management (2004-) 
    The objective is to define bargaining mechanisms (which includes communication protocols) to enable various service regions in BT to schedule their workforce efficiently. By employing a market mechanism, we aim to help the management and the region managers to generate all-win solutions. A retractable contract network protocol (RECONNET) has been defined. This protocol enables the system to conduct local search methods to search for near-optimal solutions. Guided Local Search is one of those meta-heuristic methods under consideration due to its simplicity and success elsewhere. As the management has multiple objectives, this is a multi-objective optimization problem, which is also a major research area in the group.
    Researchers at Essex: Edward Tsang, Qingfu Zhang, Tim Gosling, Wudong Liu, Yossi Borenstein and Dr Nazaraf Shah
    Researchers at BT: Botond Virginas, Chris Voudouris, Raphael Dorne and G Owusu
    Sponsor:

  • Evolutionary Approximation to Subgame Equilibriums in Game Theory (2002-2006) 
    Nanlin Jin's research is to evolve strategies under the Rubinstein model. A strategy is a function that maps (rA, rB, time) under the Rubinstein model to a value xA (or xB if this strategy is used by B).
    We have obtained extensive results. We have looked at what happens if one player has less information than the other. We have also looked at the impact of outside options to bargaining results.
    See, for example, results  for Rubinstein's 1985 model with incomplete information.
    Acknowledgement: Thanks to input by Professor Abhinay Muthoo, (Department of Economics)

  • 2-persons-game testbed (2003)
    Tim Gosling's research is in constraint satisfaction and bargaining in supply-chains. He has implemented a web-based system, as a research tool, to allow players to define the payoff tables in a 2-players game. This software enables the user to experiment with an evolutionary algorithm to find equilibrium strategies, if they exist, for the payoff table defined. The emphasis in this project is in evolutionary dynamics. A number of analysis tools have been developed.

  • Evolutionary simple bargaining game
    Software: Bargaining 4.2 (148K) (2002-04):
    This zipped directory contains programs (in Prolog) for running the Chain Constrained Bargaining Game. This directory contains all the players that participated in the tournament reported in Technical Report 385 (1.5M).
    Researcher: Edward Tsang

  • Simple Bargaining Tournaments
    Software: Bargaining 3.1 (196K) (2001-02):
    This zipped directory contains programs (in Prolog) for running the One-to-one Simple Bargaining Game. This directory contains all the players that participated in the tournament reported in Tsang & Gosling, AAMAS-2002 (74K).
    Researcher: Edward Tsang

  • Bargaining Games:

  • Rules for Bargaining 3.1 2001 (with programs)
  • Tournament 2004: Call for participation / Rules / Results and analysis
  • Tournament 2009: Overview / Rules / Results and analysis

  • Page maintained by Edward Tsang; Last updated 2010.01.26