# Artificial Intelligence Methods. Constraint Satisfaction Problems

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1 Artificial Intelligence Methods Constraint Satisfaction Problems In which we see how treating states as more than just little black boxes leads to the invention of a range of powerful new search methods and a deeper understanding of problem structure and complexity. Dr. Igor Trajkovski Dr. Igor Trajkovski 1

2 Outline CSP examples Backtracking search for CSPs Problem structure and problem decomposition Local search for CSPs Dr. Igor Trajkovski 2

3 Constraint satisfaction problems (CSPs) Standard search problem: state is a black box any old data structure that supports goal test, eval, successor CSP: state is defined by variables X i with values from domain D i goal test is a set of constraints specifying allowable combinations of values for subsets of variables Simple example of a formal representation language Allows useful general-purpose algorithms with more power than standard search algorithms Dr. Igor Trajkovski 3

4 Example: Map-Coloring Western Australia Northern Territory South Australia Queensland New South Wales Victoria Tasmania Variables WA, NT, Q, NSW, V, SA, T Domains D i = {red,green,blue} Constraints: adjacent regions must have different colors e.g., WA NT (if the language allows this), or (WA, NT) {(red,green), (red,blue), (green,red), (green,blue),...} Dr. Igor Trajkovski 4

5 Example: Map-Coloring contd. Western Australia Northern Territory South Australia Queensland New South Wales Victoria Tasmania Solutions are assignments satisfying all constraints, e.g., {WA =red,nt = green,q=red,nsw =green,v = red,sa = blue,t = green} Dr. Igor Trajkovski 5

6 Constraint graph Binary CSP: each constraint relates at most two variables Constraint graph: nodes are variables, arcs show constraints WA NT Q SA NSW V Victoria T General-purpose CSP algorithms use the graph structure to speed up search. E.g., Tasmania is an independent subproblem! Dr. Igor Trajkovski 6

7 Varieties of CSPs Discrete variables finite domains; size d O(d n ) complete assignments e.g., Boolean CSPs, incl. Boolean satisfiability (NP-complete) infinite domains (integers, strings, etc.) e.g., job scheduling, variables are start/end days for each job need a constraint language, e.g., StartJob StartJob 3 linear constraints solvable, nonlinear undecidable Continuous variables e.g., start/end times for Hubble Telescope observations linear constraints solvable in poly time by LP methods Dr. Igor Trajkovski 7

8 Varieties of constraints Unary constraints involve a single variable, e.g., SA green Binary constraints involve pairs of variables, e.g., SA WA Higher-order constraints involve 3 or more variables, e.g., cryptarithmetic column constraints Preferences (soft constraints), e.g., red is better than green often representable by a cost for each variable assignment constrained optimization problems Dr. Igor Trajkovski 8

9 Example: Cryptarithmetic T W O + T W O F O U R F T U W R O X 3 X 2 X 1 Variables: F T U W R O X 1 X 2 X 3 Domains: {0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9} Constraints alldiff(f, T,U,W, R, O) O + O = R + 10 X 1, etc. Dr. Igor Trajkovski 9

10 Assignment problems e.g., who teaches what class Real-world CSPs Timetabling problems e.g., which class is offered when and where? Hardware configuration Spreadsheets Transportation scheduling Factory scheduling Floorplanning Notice that many real-world problems involve real-valued variables Dr. Igor Trajkovski 10

11 Standard search formulation (incremental) Let s start with the straightforward, dumb approach, then fix it States are defined by the values assigned so far Initial state: the empty assignment, { } Successor function: assign a value to an unassigned variable that does not conflict with current assignment. fail if no legal assignments (not fixable!) Goal test: the current assignment is complete 1) This is the same for all CSPs! 2) Every solution appears at depth n with n variables use depth-first search 3) Path is irrelevant, so can also use complete-state formulation 4) b = (n l)d at depth l, hence n!d n leaves!!!! Dr. Igor Trajkovski 11

12 Backtracking search Variable assignments are commutative, i.e., [WA =red then NT =green] same as [NT = green then WA = red] Only need to consider assignments to a single variable at each node b =d and there are d n leaves Depth-first search for CSPs with single-variable assignments is called backtracking search Backtracking search is the basic uninformed algorithm for CSPs Can solve n-queens for n 25 Dr. Igor Trajkovski 12

13 Backtracking search function Backtracking-Search(csp) returns solution/failure return Recursive-Backtracking({ }, csp) function Recursive-Backtracking(assignment, csp) returns soln/failure if assignment is complete then return assignment var Select-Unassigned-Variable(Variables[csp], assignment, csp) for each value in Order-Domain-Values(var, assignment, csp) do if value is consistent with assignment given Constraints[csp] then add {var = value} to assignment result Recursive-Backtracking(assignment, csp) if result failure then return result remove {var = value} from assignment return failure Dr. Igor Trajkovski 13

14 Backtracking example Dr. Igor Trajkovski 14

15 Backtracking example Dr. Igor Trajkovski 15

16 Backtracking example Dr. Igor Trajkovski 16

17 Backtracking example Dr. Igor Trajkovski 17

18 Improving backtracking efficiency General-purpose methods can give huge gains in speed: 1. Which variable should be assigned next? 2. In what order should its values be tried? 3. Can we detect inevitable failure early? 4. Can we take advantage of problem structure? Dr. Igor Trajkovski 18

19 Minimum remaining values Minimum remaining values (MRV): choose the variable with the fewest legal values Dr. Igor Trajkovski 19

20 Tie-breaker among MRV variables Degree heuristic Degree heuristic: choose the variable with the most constraints on remaining variables Dr. Igor Trajkovski 20

21 Least constraining value Given a variable, choose the least constraining value: the one that rules out the fewest values in the remaining variables Allows 1 value for SA Allows 0 values for SA Combining these heuristics makes 1000 queens feasible Dr. Igor Trajkovski 21

22 Forward checking Idea: Keep track of remaining legal values for unassigned variables Terminate search when any variable has no legal values WA NT Q NSW V SA T Dr. Igor Trajkovski 22

23 Forward checking Idea: Keep track of remaining legal values for unassigned variables Terminate search when any variable has no legal values WA NT Q NSW V SA T Dr. Igor Trajkovski 23

24 Forward checking Idea: Keep track of remaining legal values for unassigned variables Terminate search when any variable has no legal values WA NT Q NSW V SA T Dr. Igor Trajkovski 24

25 Forward checking Idea: Keep track of remaining legal values for unassigned variables Terminate search when any variable has no legal values WA NT Q NSW V SA T Dr. Igor Trajkovski 25

26 Constraint propagation Forward checking propagates information from assigned to unassigned variables, but doesn t provide early detection for all failures: WA NT Q NSW V SA T NT and SA cannot both be blue! Constraint propagation repeatedly enforces constraints locally Dr. Igor Trajkovski 26

27 Arc consistency Simplest form of propagation makes each arc consistent X Y is consistent iff for every value x of X there is some allowed y WA NT Q NSW V SA T Dr. Igor Trajkovski 27

28 Arc consistency Simplest form of propagation makes each arc consistent X Y is consistent iff for every value x of X there is some allowed y WA NT Q NSW V SA T Dr. Igor Trajkovski 28

29 Arc consistency Simplest form of propagation makes each arc consistent X Y is consistent iff for every value x of X there is some allowed y WA NT Q NSW V SA T If X loses a value, neighbors of X need to be rechecked Dr. Igor Trajkovski 29

30 Arc consistency Simplest form of propagation makes each arc consistent X Y is consistent iff for every value x of X there is some allowed y WA NT Q NSW V SA T If X loses a value, neighbors of X need to be rechecked Arc consistency detects failure earlier than forward checking Can be run as a preprocessor or after each assignment Dr. Igor Trajkovski 30

31 Arc consistency algorithm function AC-3(csp) returns the CSP, possibly with reduced domains inputs: csp, a binary CSP with variables {X 1, X 2,..., X n } local variables: queue, a queue of arcs, initially all the arcs in csp while queue is not empty do (X i, X j ) Remove-First(queue) if Remove-Inconsistent-Values(X i, X j ) then for each X k in Neighbors[X i ] do add (X k, X i ) to queue function Remove-Inconsistent-Values(X i, X j ) returns true iff succeeds removed false for each x in Domain[X i ] do if no value y in Domain[X j ] allows (x,y) to satisfy the constraint X i X j then delete x from Domain[X i ]; removed true return removed O(n 2 d 3 ), can be reduced to O(n 2 d 2 ) (but detecting all is NP-hard) Dr. Igor Trajkovski 31

32 Problem structure WA NT Q SA NSW V Victoria T Tasmania and mainland are independent subproblems Identifiable as connected components of constraint graph Dr. Igor Trajkovski 32

33 Problem structure contd. Suppose each subproblem has c variables out of n total Worst-case solution cost is n/c d c, linear in n E.g., n = 80, d = 2, c = = 4 billion years at 10 million nodes/sec = 0.4 seconds at 10 million nodes/sec Dr. Igor Trajkovski 33

34 Tree-structured CSPs A C B D E F Theorem: if the constraint graph has no loops, the CSP can be solved in O(nd 2 ) time Compare to general CSPs, where worst-case time is O(d n ) This property also applies to logical and probabilistic reasoning: an important example of the relation between syntactic restrictions and the complexity of reasoning. Dr. Igor Trajkovski 34

35 Algorithm for tree-structured CSPs 1. Choose a variable as root, order variables from root to leaves such that every node s parent precedes it in the ordering A C B D E F A B C D E F 2. For j from n down to 2, apply RemoveInconsistent(Parent(X j ), X j ) 3. For j from 1 to n, assign X j consistently with Parent(X j ) Dr. Igor Trajkovski 35

36 Nearly tree-structured CSPs Conditioning: instantiate a variable, prune its neighbors domains WA NT Q WA NT Q SA NSW NSW V Victoria V Victoria T T Cutset conditioning: instantiate (in all ways) a set of variables such that the remaining constraint graph is a tree Cutset size c runtime O(d c (n c)d 2 ), very fast for small c Dr. Igor Trajkovski 36

37 Iterative algorithms for CSPs Hill-climbing, simulated annealing typically work with complete states, i.e., all variables assigned To apply to CSPs: allow states with unsatisfied constraints operators reassign variable values Variable selection: randomly select any conflicted variable Value selection by min-conflicts heuristic: choose value that violates the fewest constraints i.e., hillclimb with h(n) = total number of violated constraints Dr. Igor Trajkovski 37

38 Example: 4-Queens States: 4 queens in 4 columns (4 4 = 256 states) Operators: move queen in column Goal test: no attacks Evaluation: h(n) = number of attacks h = 5 h = 2 h = 0 Dr. Igor Trajkovski 38

39 Performance of min-conflicts Given random initial state, can solve n-queens in almost constant time for arbitrary n with high probability (e.g., n = 10,000,000) The same appears to be true for any randomly-generated CSP except in a narrow range of the ratio R = number of constraints number of variables CPU time critical ratio R Dr. Igor Trajkovski 39

40 Summary CSPs are a special kind of problem: states defined by values of a fixed set of variables goal test defined by constraints on variable values Backtracking = depth-first search with one variable assigned per node Variable ordering and value selection heuristics help significantly Forward checking prevents assignments that guarantee later failure Constraint propagation (e.g., arc consistency) does additional work to constrain values and detect inconsistencies The CSP representation allows analysis of problem structure Tree-structured CSPs can be solved in linear time Iterative min-conflicts is usually effective in practice Dr. Igor Trajkovski 40

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