In this paper, we propose a way of exploiting Operations Research techniques within global constraints for cost-based domain filtering. In Constraint Programming, constraint propagation is aimed at removing from variable domains combinations of values which are proven infeasible. Pruning derives from feasibility reasoning. When coping with optimization problems, pruning can be performed also on the basis of costs, i.e., optimality reasoning. Cost-based filtering removes combination of values which are proven sub-optimal. For this purpose, we encapsulate in global constraints optimization components representing suitable relaxations of the constraint itself. These components embed efficient Operations Research algorithms computing the optimal solution of the relaxed problem and a gradient function representing the estimated cost of each variable-value assignment. We exploit these pieces of information for pruning and for guiding the search. We have applied these techniques to a couple of ILOG Solver global constraints (a constraint of difference and a path constraint) and tested the approach on a variety of combinatorial optimization problems such as Timetabling, Travelling Salesman Problems and Scheduling Problems with sequence dependent setup times. Comparisons with pure Constraint Programming approaches and related literature clearly show the benefits of the proposed approach.

Optimization-oriented global constraints

Lodi A.;Milano M.
2002

Abstract

In this paper, we propose a way of exploiting Operations Research techniques within global constraints for cost-based domain filtering. In Constraint Programming, constraint propagation is aimed at removing from variable domains combinations of values which are proven infeasible. Pruning derives from feasibility reasoning. When coping with optimization problems, pruning can be performed also on the basis of costs, i.e., optimality reasoning. Cost-based filtering removes combination of values which are proven sub-optimal. For this purpose, we encapsulate in global constraints optimization components representing suitable relaxations of the constraint itself. These components embed efficient Operations Research algorithms computing the optimal solution of the relaxed problem and a gradient function representing the estimated cost of each variable-value assignment. We exploit these pieces of information for pruning and for guiding the search. We have applied these techniques to a couple of ILOG Solver global constraints (a constraint of difference and a path constraint) and tested the approach on a variety of combinatorial optimization problems such as Timetabling, Travelling Salesman Problems and Scheduling Problems with sequence dependent setup times. Comparisons with pure Constraint Programming approaches and related literature clearly show the benefits of the proposed approach.
2002
Focacci F.; Lodi A.; Milano M.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/905184
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