Dynamic constraint weighting for over-constrained problems
Recent research has shown that constraint weighting local search algorithms can be very effective in solving a variety of Constraint Satisfaction Problems. However, little work has been done in applying such algorithms to over-constrained problems with mandatory or hard constraints. The difficulty has been finding a weighting scheme that can weight unsatisfied constraints and still maintain the distinction between mandatory and non-mandatory constraints. This paper presents a new weighting strategy that simulates the transformation of an over-constrained problem with mandatory constraints into an equivalent problem where all constraints have equal importance, but the hard constraints have been repeated. In addition, two dynamic constraint weighting schemes are introduced that alter the number of simulated hard constraint repetitions according to feedback received during the search. The results show the dynamic strategies outperform two fixed repetition approaches on a test bed of over-constrained timetabling and nurse rostering problems.
KeywordsLocal Search Weighting Strategy Constraint Satisfaction Problem Soft Constraint Hard Constraint
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