Winsper, Michael and Chli, Maria
Decentralised supply chain formation:a belief propagation-based approach.
IN: Frontiers in artificial intelligence and applications.
Coelho, Helder; Studer, Rudi and Wooldridge, Michael (eds)
Amsterdam (NL): IOS.
Decentralised supply chain formation involves determining the set of producers within a network able to supply goods to one or more consumers at the lowest cost. This problem is frequently tackled using auctions and negotiations. In this paper we show how it can be cast as an optimisation of a pairwise cost function. Optimising this class of functions is NP-hard but good approximations to the global minimum can be obtained using Loopy Belief Propagation (LBP). Here we detail a LBP-based approach to the supply chain formation problem, involving decentralised message-passing between potential participants. Our approach is evaluated against a well-known double-auction method and an optimal centralised technique, showing several improvements: it obtains better solutions for most networks that admit a competitive equilibrium Competitive equilibrium as defined in  is used as a means of classifying results on certain networks to allow for minor inefficiencies in their auction protocol and agent bidding strategies. while also solving problems where no competitive equilibrium exists, for which the double-auction method frequently produces inefficient solutions.