Domain value mutation and other techniques for constraint satisfaction problems

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Likitvivatanavong, Chavalit
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University College Cork
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The term Constraint Satisfaction Problem (CSP) refers to a class of NP-complete problems, a collection of difficult problems for which no fast solution is known. The standard definition of a CSP involves variables, values, and constraints: each variable must be assigned a value from a designated group of possible values (also known as the variable’s domain), while a constraint on a set of variables indicates permissible combinations of values for these variables. Given a CSP, an important objective is to query whether it has a solution — an assignment of each variable to a value such that all constraints are satisfied. Solving a CSP usually requires chronological backtracking search that interleaves variable assignments with various kinds of inferences in order to reduce the search space. This dissertation comprises two parts. The first part deals with a modification of the classical CSP model that allows a value to be broken up and multiple values to be combined. The second part deals with generalized arc consistency algorithms. Both parts share a common theme in that extensional constraints --‐ the most basic expression possible for constraints --- play the central role. Despite being an important class, extensional constraints have received much less attention recently as most efforts have been channelled toward identifying new types of specialized constraints and coming up with corresponding algorithms. Regardless, improvements to algorithms for extensional constraints are more fundamental. This dissertation will attempt to improve existing techniques and algorithms for extensional constraints by examining them critically from the bottom up and approaching them from a novel direction.
Constraint satisfaction problems , Search , Generalized arc consistency , Interchangeability
Likitvivatanavong, C. 2017. Domain value mutation and other techniques for constraint satisfaction problems. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.