SAT vs CSP: a commentary

Walsh, Toby

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence 

In 2000, I published a relatively comprehensive study of mappings between propositional satisfiability (SAT) and constraint satisfaction problems (CSPs) [Wal00]. I analysed four different mappings of SAT problems into CSPs, and two of CSPs into SAT problems. For each mapping, I compared the impact of achieving arc-consistency on the CSP with unit propagation on the corresponding SAT problems, and lifted these results to CSP algorithms that maintain (some level of ) arc-consistency during search like FC and MAC, and to the Davis- Putnam procedure (which performs unit propagation at each search node). These results helped provide some insight into the relationship between propositional satisfiability and constraint satisfaction that set the scene for an important and valuable body of work that followed. I discuss here what prompted the paper, and what followed.