John E. Collins

1042 Golden Oaks, Hudson, WI 54016
ph: 612.986.8222


Research Interests

Technical Specialties:


Since Fall semester 2002, I am a Teaching Assistant Professor in the Computer Science department at the University of Minnesota. I teach in both the undergrad program and in the Master of Science in Software Engineering (MSSE) program. I expect to assume the directorship of the MSSE program in the next year or so.

Since 1998, I have taught a semester course in Distributed Object Systems in the University of Minnesota's MSSE program. The course is in the program because I submitted a proposal and was awarded a contract to develop it. I also teach the Advanced Software Engineering course in that program, and I developed and taught a 40-hour course on Enterprise Java Beans for the University's Continuing Engineering Education program.

Since October 1997, I have been an independent consultant. I have done technical pre-sales work, including customer interviews, project planning, risk analysis, and project proposals. I led a process improvement initiative for a local software company. Other projects have included technical analyses of potential partnerships and acquisitions, system architecture analysis, research and analysis on technology adoptions, and a detailed analysis of enterprise-class distributed object infrastructure products and standards.

I was at 3M from 1969 through 1997. While there, I had considerable freedom to explore and develop technologies, define products, put together business cases, propose projects, build development teams, and spend time with potential customers. At least 60% of my time at 3M was spent working on projects that I proposed. I am principal or co-inventor on 16 US patents. Highlights of my tenure at 3M include:


Ph.D., Computer Science, University of Minnesota, 2002.
My research was primarily in advanced planning and scheduling systems in the context of autonomous agents. I was project leader for a research group studying issues in automated negotiation and electronic commerce. The group is designing and implementing the University of Minnesota's MAGNET market-oriented contracting system.

MS Computer Science, University of Minnesota, 1985.

BS, Electrical Engineering, Iowa State University, 1969.


ACM, American Association for Artificial Intelligence, IEEE Computer Society

Selected recent publications

Many of these are publicly available here.

J. Collins, "Solving Combinatorial Auctions with Temporal Constraints in Economic Agents," Ph.D. thesis, University of Minnesota, Computer Science Department, 2002.

J. Collins, W. Ketter, M. Gini, and B. Mobasher. "A multi-agent negotiation testbed for contracting tasks with temporal and precedence constraints," Int'l Journal of Electronic Commerce, 2002.

J. Collins, C. Bilot, M. Gini, and B. Mobasher. "Decision processes in agent-based automated contracting," IEEE Internet Computing, pages 61-72, March 2001.

J. Collins and M. Gini, "An Integer Programming Formulation of the Bid Evaluation Problem for Coordinated Tasks," In B. Dietrich and R. V. Vohra, editors, Mathematics of the Internet: E-Auction and Markets, volume 127 of IMA Volumes in Mathematics and its Applications, pages 59-74. Springer-Verlag, New York, 2001.

J. Collins and M. Gini, "Exploring Decision Processes in Multi-Agent Automated Contracting," submitted to the Fifth International Conference on Autonomous Agents, Montreal, Canada, May 2001.

J. Collins, C. Bilot, M. Gini, and B. Mobasher, "Mixed-Initiative Decision Support in Agent-Based Automated Contracting," Fourth International Conference on Autonomous Agents, Barcelona, Spain, June 2000.

J. Collins, R. Sundareswara, M. Tsvetovat, M. Gini, and B. Mobasher, "Search Strategies for Bid Selection in Multi-Agent Contracting," Agent-mediated Electronic Commerce (AmEC-99), at IJCAI'99, Stockholm, Sweden, August 1999.

J. Collins, M. Tsvetovat, R. Sundareswara, J. van Tonder, M. Gini, and B. Mobasher, "Evaluating Risk: Flexibility and Feasibility in Multi-Agent Contracting", Third International Conference on Autonomous Agents, Seattle, May 1999.

J. Collins, M. Tsvetovat, B. Mobasher, and M. Gini, "MAGNET: A Multi-Agent Contracting System for Plan Execution," Workshop on Artificial Intelligence and Manufacturing: State of the Art and State of Practice, AAAI Press, Albuquerque, NM, pp 63-68, August 1998.

J. Collins, B. Youngdahl, S. Jamison, B. Mobasher, M. Gini, "A Market Architecture for Multi-Agent Contracting," Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Autonomous Agents, Minneapolis, MN, pp. 285-292, May 1998.

J. Collins, S. Jamison, M. Gini, B. Mobasher, "Temporal Strategies in a Multi-Agent Contracting Protocol," AAAI-97 Workshop on AI in Electronic Commerce, Providence, RI, 1997.

J. Collins and E. Sisley, "Automated Assignment and Scheduling of Service Personnel," IEEE Expert vol. 9 no. 2, pp 33-39, April 1994.

J. Collins and E. Sisley, "Experimental Evaluation of Distributed System Configurations," in Proceedings of the International Workshop on Modeling, Analysis, and Simulation of Computer and Telecommunications Systems (Mascots '93), Society for Computer Simulation, San Diego, CA, 1993.

J. Collins, "Documenting Protocols in CLOS: Keeping the Promise of Reuse," in Object-Oriented Programming: The CLOS Perspective , A. Paepcke, ed., pp. 253-274, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1993.

J. Collins and E. Sisley, "AI in Field Service:The Dispatch Advisor," AAAI-93 Workshop on AI in Service and Support , Washington, DC, 1993.

References available upon request.