Refereed Conference Papers

Decentralised Supply Chain Formation: A Belief Propagation-based Approach.
M. Winsper and M. Chli, In Proceedings of the 19th European Conference on Artificial Intelligence (ECAI), 2010.


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 while also solving problems where no competitive equilibrium exists, for which the double-auction method frequently produces inefficient solutions.


Supply chain formation, Loopy belief propagation