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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Experimental evaluation of preprocessing algorithms for constraint satisfaction problems

  • Author(s): Dechter, Rina
  • Meiri, Itay
  • et al.

This paper presents an experimental evaluation of two orthogonal schemes for preprocessing constraint satisfaction problems (CSPs). The first of these schemes involves a class of local consistency techniques that includes directional arc consistency, directional path consistency, and adaptive consistency. The other scheme concerns the prearrangement of variables in a linear order to facilitate an efficient search. In the first series of experiments, we evaluated the effect of each of the local consistency techniques on backtracking and its common enhancement, backjumping. Surprizingly, although adaptive consistency has the best worst-case complexity bounds, we have found that it exhibits the worst performance, unless the constraint graph was very sparse. Directional arc consistency (followed by either backjumping or backtracking) and backjumping (without any pre-processing) outperformed all other techniques; moreover, the former dominated the latter in computationally intensive situations. The second series of experiments suggests that maximum cardinality and minimum width arc the best pre-ordering (i.e., static ordering) strategies, while dynamic search rearrangement is superior to all the preorderings studied.

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