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Minimizing conflicts: A heuristic repair method for constraint satisfaction and scheduling problems. (English) Zbl 0782.90054
Summary: The paper describes a simple heuristic approach for solving large-scale constraint satisfaction and scheduling problems. In this approach one starts with an inconsistent assignment for a set of variables and searches through the space of possible repairs. The search can be guided by a value-ordering heuristic, the min-conflicts heuristic, that attempts to minimize the number of constraint violations after each step. The heuristic can be used with a variety of different search strategies.
We demonstrate empirically that on the \(n\)-queens problem, a technique based on this approach performs oders of magnitude better than traditional backtracking techniques. We also describe a scheduling application where the approach has been used successfully. A theoretical analysis is presented both to explain why this method works well on certain types of problems and to predict when it is likely to be most effective.

90B35 Deterministic scheduling theory in operations research
Full Text: DOI
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