eMediator: A Next Generation Electronic Commerce Server

Tuomas Sandholm, Washington University

eMediator , a next generation electronic commerceserver, demonstrates ways in which AI, algorithmic support, game theoretic incentive engineering, and GUI design can jointly improve the efficiency of ecommerce. The first component, eAuctionHouse , is a configurable auction house that supports a large variety of parameterizable auction types. It supports generalized combinatorial auctions with new algorithms for winner determination. It also allows bidding via graphically drawn price-quantity graphs. It has an expert system for helping the user decide which auction type to use. Finally, it supports mobile software agents that bid optimally on the user’s behalf based on game theoretic analyses. The second component, eCommitter , is a leveled commitment contract optimizer. In automated negotiation systems consisting of self-interested agents, contracts have traditionally been binding. Leveled commitment contracts, i.e. contracts where each party can decommit by paying a predetermined penalty|were recently shown to improve Pareto efficiency even if agents rationally decommit in Nash equilibrium using in ated thresholds on how good their outside offers must be before they decommit. eCommitter solves the Nash equilibrium thresholds. Furthermore, it optimizes the contract price and decommitment penalties themselves.

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