Heterogeneity, stability, and efficiency in distributed systems

James D. Thomas and Katia Sycara
Conference Paper, Proceedings of the 1998 International Conference on Multi Agent Systems, pp. 293 - 300, July, 1998

View Publication

Copyright notice: This material is presented to ensure timely dissemination of scholarly and technical work. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by authors or by other copyright holders. All persons copying this information are expected to adhere to the terms and constraints invoked by each author's copyright. These works may not be reposted without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.


This paper explores the increasing the heterogeneity of an agent population to stabilize decentralized systems by adding bias terms to each agent’s expected payoffs. Two approaches are evaluated, corresponding to heterogeneous preferences and heterogeneous transaction costs; empirically, the transaction cost case provides stability with near optimal payoffs under certain conditions. Theoretically, in the idealized case of an infinite number of agents, it is proven that the system with added heterogeneous preferences has a fired point different from that of the unbiased system, guaranteeing suboptimal perfomance, while the transaction cast case is demonstrated to have a fixed point identical to that of the unbiased system, and it is further shown to be a contraction mapping, guaranteeing convergence. This contraction mapping allows us to conceptualize the model with heterogeneous transaction costs as a decentralized root finding system.

author = {James D. Thomas and Katia Sycara},
title = {Heterogeneity, stability, and efficiency in distributed systems},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the 1998 International Conference on Multi Agent Systems},
year = {1998},
month = {July},
pages = {293 - 300},
} 2017-09-13T10:49:24-04:00