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 View-based propagation of decomposable constraints

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Constraints that may be obtained by composition from simpler constraints are present, in some way or another, in almost every constraint program. The decomposition of such constraints is a standard technique for obtaining an adequate propagation algorithm from a combination of propagators designed for simpler constraints. The decomposition approach is appealing in several ways. Firstly because creating a specific propagator for every constraint is clearly infeasible since the number of constraints is infinite. Secondly, because designing a propagation algorithm for complex constraints can be very challenging. Finally, reusing existing propagators allows to reduce the size of code to be developed and maintained. Traditionally, constraint solvers automatically decompose constraints into simpler ones using additional auxiliary variables and propagators, or expect the users to perform such decomposition themselves, eventually leading to the same propagation model. In this paper we explore views, an alternative way to create efficient propagators for such constraints in a modular, simple and correct way, which avoids the introduction of auxiliary variables and propagators.

Autor: Marco Correia; Pedro Barahona


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