Design and Analysis of the MinneTAC-03 Supply-Chain Trading Agent

Date of Submission: 
April 26, 2004
Report Number: 
04-016
Report PDF: 
Abstract: 
MinneTAC is an agent designed to compete in the Supply-Chain Trading Agent Competition. It is also designed to support the needs of a group of researchers, each of whom is interested in different decision problems related to the competition scenario. The design of MinneTAC breaks outeach basic behavior into a separate, configurable component. Dependencies between components are almost non-existent. This design allows each user to focus on a single problem and work independently, and it allows multiple user to tackle the same problem in different ways. This paper describes the design of MinneTAC and evaluates its effectiveness in support of our research agenda, and in its competitiveness in the TAC-SCM game environment. We also describe two sales strategies used by MinneTAC. Both strategies estimate, as the game progresses, the probability of receiving a customer order for different prices and compute the expected profit. Offers are made to maximize the expected profit on each order. The maindifference between the two strategies is in how the probability of receiving an order and the offer prices are computed. The first strategy works well in high-demand games, the second was developed to improve performance in low-demand games. We empirically analyze the effect of the discount given by suppliers on orders received the firstday of the game, and we show that in high-demand games there is a strong correlation between the offers an agent receives from suppliers on the first day of the game and the agent's performance in the game.