The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Anytime Optimal Coalition Structure Generation

Rahwan, Talal, Ramchurn, Sarvapali D., Dang, Viet D., Giovannucci, Andrea and Jennings, N. R. (2007) Anytime Optimal Coalition Structure Generation At 22nd Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), Canada. , pp. 1184-1190.

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


Forming effective coalitions is a major research challenge in the field of multi-agent systems. Central to this endeavour is the problem of determining the best groups of agents to select to achieve some goal. To this end, in this paper, we present a novel, optimal anytime algorithm for this coalition structure generation problem that is significantly faster than previous algorithms designed for this purpose. Specifically, our algorithm can generate solutions by partitioning the space of all potential coalitions into sub-spaces that contain coalition structures that are similar, according to some criterion, such that these sub-spaces can be pruned by identifying their bounds. Using this representation, the algorithm then searches through only valid and unique coalition structures and selects the best among them using a branch-and-bound technique. We empirically show that we are able to find solutions that are optimal in 0.082% of the time taken by the state of the art dynamic programming algorithm (for 27 agents) using much less memory (O(2^n) instead of O(3^n) for the set of n agents). Moreover, our algorithm is the first to be able to solve the coalition structure generation problem for numbers of agents bigger than 27 in reasonable time (less than 90 minutes for 27 agents as opposed to around 2 months for the best previous solution).

PDF optimalcsgaaai.pdf - Other
Download (1MB)

More information

Published date: February 2007
Venue - Dates: 22nd Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), Canada, 2007-02-01
Keywords: Coalition Formation, Multi-agent Systems, Coalition Structure Generation, Search, Combinatorial, Set Partitioning
Organisations: Agents, Interactions & Complexity


Local EPrints ID: 263433
PURE UUID: 29565aa4-6181-4c28-b8ad-1de945135ee2
ORCID for Sarvapali D. Ramchurn: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 14 Feb 2007
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 07:45

Export record


Author: Talal Rahwan
Author: Sarvapali D. Ramchurn ORCID iD
Author: Viet D. Dang
Author: Andrea Giovannucci
Author: N. R. Jennings

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.