Electronic Commerce (EC) is changing the way business is getting done in the Information Age. To gain a competitive edge, businesses are in need of new computational models and infrastructure. To address this need, we are developing a model of inter-organizational electronic commerce. According to this model, different users are represented by autonomous software agents interconnected via the Internet. The agents act on behalf of their human users/organizations to perform information gathering tasks, such as locating and accessing information from various sources, filtering unwanted information, and providing decision support. Our goal is to coordinate software agents in supply chains dynamically and flexibly so that goods and services can be delivered cost-effectively and when needed.
As an initial problem domain, we chose collective book purchasing. In the university setting, relatively large numbers of students enrolled in the same classes purchase the same required books. Such groups can be bundled as coalitions, given the ease of payment collection, distribution of goods, and the potentially large number of users involved in the system.
See our System Demonstration.