An anytime algorithm for optimal coalition structure generation

Talal Rahwan, Sarvapali D. Ramchurn, Nicholas R. Jennings, Andrea Giovannucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Coalition formation is a fundamental type of interaction that involves the creation of coherent groupings of distinct, autonomous, agents in order to efficiently achieve their individual or collective goals. Forming effective coalitions is a major research challenge in the field of multi-agent systems. Central to this endeavour is the problem of determining which of the many possible coalitions to form in order to achieve some goal. This usually requires calculating a value for every possible coalition, known as the coalition value, which indicates how beneficial that coalition would be if it was formed. Once these values are calculated, the agents usually need to find a combination of coalitions, in which every agent belongs to exactly one coalition, and by which the overall outcome of the system is maximized. However, this coalition structure generation problem is extremely challenging due to the number of possible solutions that need to be examined, which grows exponentially with the number of agents involved. To date, therefore, many algorithms have been proposed to solve this problem using different techniques - ranging from dynamic programming, to integer programming, to stochastic search - all of which suffer from major limitations relating to execution time, solution quality, and memory requirements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)521-567
Number of pages47
JournalJournal of Artificial Intelligence Research
StatePublished - Jan 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence


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