Distributed allocation of the capacity of a single-facility using cooperative interaction via coupling agents
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This paper considers the problem associated with the allocation of the finite capacity of a single facility among different business organizations under partial information sharing. In distributed allocation, the decision authorities and system information are dispersed amid organizations and a facility, i.e. no organization requires explicit access to system-wide information in order to allocate effectively the capacity of the shared facility. The lack of explicit information access is compensated by the careful exchange of information among organizations via the shared facility; i.e. cooperative interaction. The facility resolves conflicting interests among organizations on capacity usage and directs locally optimized solutions to a globally optimized solution. The distributed decision making problems associated with each organization and the facility are formulated as linear programs. The proposed cooperative algorithm is tested under two levels of information sharing: when the capacity information of the facility is unknown to organizations, and when partial capacity information of the facility is known to organizations. Experimental results suggest that even in this restricted information environment, the proposed method yields solutions that are comparable to those obtained with methodologies that require unrestricted access to information.
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