Journal of Applied Mathematics and Decision Sciences
Volume 2005 (2005), Issue 1, Pages 1-18

Randomized distributed access to mutually exclusive resources

Moshe Dror,1 Bruce Hartman,2 Gary Knotts,1 and Daniel Zeng1

1Department of Management Information Systems, University of Arizona, Tucson 85721, AZ, USA
2Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Saint Mary's College of California, Moraga 94575, CA, USA

Received 1 July 2002; Revised 1 September 2004

Copyright © 2005 Moshe Dror et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Many systems consist of a set of agents which must acquire exclusive access to resources from a shared pool. Coordination of agents in such systems is often implemented in the form of a centralized mechanism. The intervention of this type of mechanism, however, typically introduces significant computational overhead and reduces the amount of concurrent activity. Alternatives to centralized mechanisms exist, but they generally suffer from the need for extensive interagent communication. In this paper, we develop a randomized approach to make multiagent resource-allocation decisions with the objective of maximizing expected concurrency measured by the number of the active agents. This approach does not assume a centralized mechanism and has no need for interagent communication. Compared to existing autonomous-decentralized-decision-making (ADDM)-based approaches for resource-allocation, our work emphasizes achieving the highest degree of agent autonomy and is able to handle more general resource requirements.