DIMACS TR: 2003-04

Flexible Regulation of Distributed Coalitions

Authors: Xuhui Ao and Naftaly Minsky


There is a growing tendency for organizations to form coalitions in order to collaborate---by sharing some of their resources, or by coordinating some of their activities. The question addressed in this paper is: how should such coalitions be regulated?

Our approach to this question is based on the following definition of the governance of coalitions: A coalition C is a set {E1,E2,...,En} of enterprises, which interoperate under an ensemble of policies [Pc, {Pi}], where Pc is the coalition policy that governs the coalition as a whole, and Pi is the local policy of enterprise Ei (for each i), which governs its participation in the coalition. This means, in particular, that every interaction between an agent Xi of enterprise Ei and an agent Xj of Ej must comply with the local policies Pi and Pj, as well as with the coalition policy Pc.

We also require that the policy-ensemble [Pc, {Pi}] of a coalition would satisfy the following principle of flexibility: Each local policy Pi can be defined and changed independently of other local policies in this ensemble, and without any knowledge of them.

We will describe a regulatory mechanism for coalitions, which provides for efficient and decentralized enforcement of a wide range of policies that might govern a coalition, and which satisfies our principle of flexibility.

Paper Available at: ftp://dimacs.rutgers.edu/pub/dimacs/TechnicalReports/TechReports/2003/2003-04.ps.gz

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