Reaching consensus under a deadline

Marina Bannikova, Lihi Dery*, Svetlana Obraztsova, Zinovi Rabinovich, Jeffrey S. Rosenschein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Group decisions are often complicated by a deadline. For example, in committee hiring decisions the deadline might be the next start of a budget, or the beginning of a semester. It may be that if no candidate is supported by a strong majority, the default is to hire no one - an option that may cost dearly. As a result, committee members might prefer to agree on a reasonable, if not necessarily the best, candidate, to avoid unfilled positions. In this paper we propose a model for the above scenario—Consensus Under a Deadline (CUD)—based on a time-bounded iterative voting process. We provide convergence guarantees and an analysis of the quality of the final decision. An extensive experimental study demonstrates more subtle features of CUDs, e.g., the difference between two simple types of committee member behavior, lazy vs. proactive voters. Finally, a user study examines the differences between the behavior of rational voting bots and real voters, concluding that it may often be best to have bots play on the voters’ behalf.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number9
Pages (from-to)1-42
Number of pages42
JournalAutonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Consensus
  • Deadline
  • Group decisions
  • Iterative voting
  • Social choice


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