Technical Report 2004-022

Compositional Derivation of Symmetries for Constraint Satisfaction

Pascal Van Hentenryck, Pierre Flener, Justin Pearson, and Magnus Ågren

May 2004

This paper reconsiders the problems of discovering symmetries in constraint satisfaction problems (CSPs). It proposes a compositional approach which derives symmetries of the applications from primitive constraints. Its key insight is the recognition of the special role of global constraints in symmetry detection. Once the symmetries of global constraints are available, it often becomes much easier to derive symmetries compositionally and efficiently. The paper demonstrates the potential of this approach by studying several classes of value and variable symmetries and applying the resulting techniques to two non-trivial applications. The paper also discusses the potential of reformulations and high-level modelling abstractions to strengthen symmetry discovery.

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