Conference paper

Constraint-Level Advice for Shaving

This work concentrates on improving the robustness of constraint solvers by increasing the propagation strength of constraint models in a declarative and automatic manner. Our objective is to efficiently identify and remove shavable values during search. A value is shavable if as soon as it is assigned to its associated variable an inconsistency can be detected, making it possible to refute it. We extend previous work on shaving by using different techniques to decide if a given value is an interesting candidate for the shaving process. More precisely, we exploit the semantics of (global) constraints to suggest values, and reuse both the successes and failures of shaving later in search to tune shaving further. We illustrate our approach with two important global constraints, namely alldifferent and sum, and present the results of an experimentation obtained for three problem classes. The experimental results are quite encouraging: we are able to significantly reduce the number of search nodes (even by more than two orders of magnitude), and improve the average execution time by one order of magnitude.


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