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If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
Pen and paper puzzles like Sudoku, Futoshiki and Skyscrapers are hugely popular. Solving such puzzles can be a trivial task for modern AI systems. However, most AI systems solve problems using a form of backtracking, while people try to avoid backtracking as much as possible. This means that existing AI systems do not output explanations about their reasoning that are meaningful to people. We present Demystify, a tool which allows puzzles to be expressed in a high-level constraint programming language and uses MUSes to allow us to produce descriptions of steps in the puzzle solving. We give several improvements to the existing techniques for solving puzzles with MUSes, which allow us to solve a range of significantly more complex puzzles and give higher quality explanations. We demonstrate the effectiveness and generality of Demystify by comparing its results to documented strategies for solving a range of pen and paper puzzles by hand, showing that our technique can find many of the same explanations.
When a small pattern graph does not occur inside a larger target graph, we can ask how to find "as much of the pattern as possible" inside the target graph. In general, this is known as the maximum common subgraph problem, which is much more computationally challenging in practice than subgraph isomorphism. We introduce a restricted alternative, where we ask if all but k vertices from the pattern can be found in the target graph. This allows for the development of slightly weakened forms of certain invariants from subgraph isomorphism which are based upon degree and number of paths. We show that when k is small, weakening the invariants still retains much of their effectiveness. We are then able to solve this problem on the standard problem instances used to benchmark subgraph isomorphism algorithms, despite these instances being too large for current maximum common subgraph algorithms to handle. Finally, by iteratively increasing k, we obtain an algorithm which is also competitive for the maximum common subgraph