Analysis of Heuristic Synergies

  • Richard J. Wallace
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 3978)


“Heuristic synergy” refers to improvements in search performance when the decisions made by two or more heuristics are combined. This paper considers combinations based on products and quotients, and a less familiar form of combination based on weighted sums of ratings from a set of base heuristics, some of which result in definite improvements in performance. Then, using recent results from a factor analytic study of heuristic performance, which had demonstrated two main effects of heuristics involving either buildup of contention or look-ahead-induced failure, it is shown that heuristic combinations are effective when they are able to balance these two actions. In addition to elucidating the basis for heuristic synergy (or lack thereof), this work suggests that the task of understanding heuristic search depends on the analysis of these two basic actions.


Ratio Node Constraint Satisfaction Problem Search Node Heuristic Performance Improve Search Performance 


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard J. Wallace
    • 1
  1. 1.Cork Constraint Computation Centre and Department of Computer ScienceUniversity College CorkCorkIreland

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