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STR2: Optimized Simple Tabular Reduction for Table Constraints

Abstract : Table constraints play an important role within constraint programming. Recently, many schemes or algorithms have been proposed to propagate table constraints and/or to compress their representation. In this paper, we describe an optimization of simple tabular reduction (STR), a technique proposed by J. Ullmann to dynamically maintain the tables of supports when generalized arc consistency (GAC) is enforced/maintained. STR2, the new refined GAC algorithm we propose, allows us to limit the number of operations related to validity checking and search of supports. Interestingly enough, this optimization makes simple tabular reduction potentially r times faster where r is the arity of the constraint(s). The results of an extensive experimentation that we have conducted with respect to random and structured instances indicate that STR2 is usually around twice as fast as the original STR, two or three times faster than the approach based on the hidden variable encoding, and can be up to one order of magnitude faster than previously state-of-the art (generic) GAC algorithms on some series of instances. When comparing STR2 with the more recently developed algorithm based on multi-valued decision diagrams (MDDs), we show that both approaches are rather complementary.
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Christophe Lecoutre. STR2: Optimized Simple Tabular Reduction for Table Constraints. Constraints, Springer Verlag, 2011, 16 (4), pp.341-371. ⟨hal-00868225⟩

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