Neighborhood Inverse Consistency Preprocessing

AAAI Conferences

Constraint satisfaction consistency preprocessing methods are used to reduce search effort. Time and especially space costs limit the amount of preprocessing that will be cost effective. A new form of consistency preprocessing, neighborhood inverse consistency, can achieve more problem pruning than the usual arc consistency preprocessing in a cost effective manner. There are two basic ideas: 1) Common forms of consistency enforcement basically operate by identifying and remembering solutions to subproblems for which a consistent value cannot be found for some additional problem variable. The space required for this memory can quickly become prohibitive. Inverse consistency basically operates by removing values for variables that are not consistent with any solution to some subproblem involving additional variables. The space requirement is at worst linear.


Domain Filtering Consistencies

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

Enforcing local consistencies is one of the main features of constraint reasoning. Which level of local consistency should be used when searching for solutions in a constraint network is a basic question. Arc consistency and partial forms of arc consistency have been widely studied, and have been known for sometime through the forward checking or the MAC search algorithms. Until recently, stronger forms of local consistency remained limited to those that change the structure of the constraint graph, and thus, could not be used in practice, especially on large networks. This paper focuses on the local consistencies that are stronger than arc consistency, without changing the structure of the network, i.e., only removing inconsistent values from the domains. In the last five years, several such local consistencies have been proposed by us or by others. We make an overview of all of them, and highlight some relations between them. We compare them both theoretically and experimentally, considering their pruning efficiency and the time required to enforce them.


Domain Filtering Consistencies

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Enforcing local consistencies is one of the main features of constraint reasoning. Which level of local consistency should be used when searching for solutions in a constraint network is a basic question. Arc consistency and partial forms of arc consistency have been widely studied, and have been known for sometime through the forward checking or the MAC search algorithms. Until recently, stronger forms of local consistency remained limited to those that change the structure of the constraint graph, and thus, could not be used in practice, especially on large networks. This paper focuses on the local consistencies that are stronger than arc consistency, without changing the structure of the network, i.e., only removing inconsistent values from the domains. In the last five years, several such local consistencies have been proposed by us or by others. We make an overview of all of them, and highlight some relations between them. We compare them both theoretically and experimentally, considering their pruning efficiency and the time required to enforce them.


Efficient Algorithms for Strong Local Consistencies in Constraint Satisfaction Problems

AAAI Conferences

The existing complete methods for solving Constraint Satisfaction Problems (CSPs) are usually based on a combination of exhaustive search and constraint propagation techniques for the reduction of the search space. Such propagation techniques are the local consistency algorithms. Arc Consistency (AC) and Generalized Arc Consistency (GAC) are the most widely studied local consistencies that are predominantly used in constraint solvers. However, many stronger local consistencies than (G)AC have been proposed, even recently, but have been rather overlooked due to their prohibitive cost. This research proposes efficient algorithms for strong consistencies for both binary and non-binary constraints that can be easily adopted by standard CP solvers. Experimental results have so far demonstrated that the proposed algorithms are quite competitive and often more efficient than state-of-the-art methods, being orders of magnitude faster on various problem classes.


Local Consistency and SAT-Solvers

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

Local consistency techniques such as k-consistency are a key component of specialised solvers for constraint satisfaction problems. In this paper we show that the power of using k-consistency techniques on a constraint satisfaction problem is precisely captured by using a particular inference rule, which we call negative-hyper-resolution, on the standard direct encoding of the problem into Boolean clauses. We also show that current clause-learning SAT-solvers will discover in expected polynomial time any inconsistency that can be deduced from a given set of clauses using negative-hyper-resolvents of a fixed size. We combine these two results to show that, without being explicitly designed to do so, current clause-learning SAT-solvers efficiently simulate k-consistency techniques, for all fixed values of k. We then give some experimental results to show that this feature allows clause-learning SAT-solvers to efficiently solve certain families of constraint problems which are challenging for conventional constraint-programming solvers.