Technical Reports

The ICICS/CS Reading Room

UBC CS TR-91-26 Summary

The Logic of Constraint Satisfaction, November 1991 Alan K. Mackworth, 20 pages

The Constraint Satisfaction Problem (CSP) formalization has been a productive tool within Artificial Intelligence and related areas. The Finite CSP (FCSP) framework is presented here as a restricted logical calculus within a space of logical representation and reasoning systems. FCSP is formulated in a variety of logical settings: theorem proving in first order predicate calculus, propositional theorem proving (and hence SAT), the Prolog and Datalog approaches, constraint network algorithms, a logical interpreter for networks of constraints, the Constraint Logic Programming (CLP) paradigm and propositional model finding (and hence SAT, again). Several standard, and some not-so-standard, logical methods can therefore be used to solve these problems. By doing this we obtain a specification of the semantics of the common approaches. This synthetic treatment also allows algorithms and results from these disparate areas to be imported, and specialized, to FCSP; the special properties of FCSP are exploited to achieve, for example, completeness and to improve efficiency. It also allows export to the related areas. By casting CSP both as a generalization of FCSP and as a specialization of CLP it is observed that some, but not all, FCSP techniques lift to CSP and, perhaps, thereby to CLP. Various new connections are uncovered, in particular between the proof-finding approaches and the alternative model-finding approaches that have arisen in depiction and diagnosis applications.

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