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A generic arc-consistency algorithm and its specializations. (English) Zbl 0763.68059
Summary: Consistency techniques have been studied extensively in the past as a way of tackling constraint satisfaction problems (CSP). In particular, various arc-consistency algorithms have been proposed, originating from Waltz’s filtering algorithm [D. Waltz, Generating semantic descriptions from drawings of scenes with shadows, Tech. Rept. AI271, MIT, Cambridge, MA (1972)] and culminating in the optimal algorithm AC-4 of R. Mohr and T. C. Henderson [Arc and path consistency revisited, Artif. Intell. 28, 225-233 (1986)]. AC-4 runs in \(O(ed^ 2)\) in the worst case, where \(e\) is the number of arcs (or constraints) and \(d\) is the size of the largest domain. Being applicable to the whole class of (binary) CSP, these algorithms do not take into account the semantics of constraints.
We present a new generic arc-consistency algorithm AC-5. This algorithm is parametrized on two specified procedures and can be instantiated to reduce to AC-3 and AC-4. More important, AC-5 can be instantiated to produce and \(O(ed)\) algorithm for a number of important classes of constraints: functional, anti-functional, monotonic, and their generalization to (functional, anti-functional, and monotonic) piecewise constraints.
We also show that AC-5 has an important application in constraint logic programming over finite domains. The kernel of the constraint solver for such a programming language is an arc-consistency algorithm for a set of basic constraints. We prove that AC-5, in conjunction with node consistency, provides a decision procedure for these constraints running in time \(O(ed)\).

68T20 Problem solving in the context of artificial intelligence (heuristics, search strategies, etc.)
Full Text: DOI
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