An empirical study of dynamic variable ordering heuristics for the constraint satisfaction problem

  • Gent I
  • MacIntyre E
  • Prosser P
 et al. 
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Abstract

The constraint satisfaction community has developed a number
of heuristics for variable ordering during backtracking search. For
example,
in conjunction with algorithms which check forwards, the Fail-First
(FF)
and Brelaz (Bz) heuristics are cheap to evaluate and are generally
considered
to be very effective. Recent work to understand phase transitions in
NP-complete problem classes enables us to compare such heuristics
over a
large range of different kinds of problems. Furthermore, we are now
able
to start to understand the reasons for the success, and therefore
also the
failure, of heuristics, and to introduce new heuristics which achieve
the successes
and avoid the failures. In this paper, we present a comparison of the
Bz and FF heuristics in forward checking algorithms applied to
randomlygenerated
binary CSP's. We also introduce new and very general heuristics
and present an extensive study of these. These new heuristics are
usually
as good as or better than Bz and FF, and we id...

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Authors

  • Ian P. Gent

  • Ewan MacIntyre

  • Patrick Prosser

  • Barbara M. Smith

  • Toby Walsh

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