Automated Symmetry Breaking and Model Selection in Conjure

  • Ozgur Akgun
  • Alan M. Frisch
  • Ian P. Gent
  • Bilal Syed Hussain
  • Christopher Jefferson
  • Lars Kotthoff
  • Ian Miguel
  • Peter Nightingale
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8124)


Constraint modelling is widely recognised as a key bottleneck in applying constraint solving to a problem of interest. The Conjure automated constraint modelling system addresses this problem by automatically refining constraint models from problem specifications written in the Essence language. Essence provides familiar mathematical concepts like sets, functions and relations nested to any depth. To date, Conjure has been able to produce a set of alternative model kernels (i.e. without advanced features such as symmetry breaking or implied constraints) for a given specification. The first contribution of this paper is a method by which Conjure can break symmetry in a model as it is introduced by the modelling process. This works at the problem class level, rather than just individual instances, and does not require an expensive detection step after the model has been formulated. This allows Conjure to produce a higher quality set of models. A further limitation of Conjure has been the lack of a mechanism to select among the models it produces. The second contribution of this paper is to present two such mechanisms, allowing effective models to be chosen automatically.


Symmetry Breaking Constraint Programming Constraint Model Constraint Solver Abstract Constraint 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ozgur Akgun
    • 1
  • Alan M. Frisch
    • 2
  • Ian P. Gent
    • 1
  • Bilal Syed Hussain
    • 1
  • Christopher Jefferson
    • 1
  • Lars Kotthoff
    • 3
  • Ian Miguel
    • 1
  • Peter Nightingale
    • 1
  1. 1.University of St. AndrewsUK
  2. 2.University of YorkUK
  3. 3.Cork Constraint Computation CentreIreland

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