Section: Application Domains
Combinatorial optimization problems
The number and economic impact of combinatorial optimization problems found in the industrial world are constantly increasing. They cover:
The last forty years have brought many improvements in Operations Research resolution techniques. In this context, Constraint Programming can be seen as providing, on the one hand, local consistency techniques that can be applied to various numerical or symbolic constraints, and on the other hand, declarative languages. This last point is crucial for quickly developing complex combinations of algorithms, which is not possible without a language with a high level of abstraction. It allowed for better results, for instance in scheduling problems, than traditional methods, and is promised to an even better future when thinking about the cooperation of global resolution, local consistency techniques and search methods.
The project builds upon its knowledge of CC languages, constraint solvers and their implementation to work in these directions. The LCC paradigm offers at the same time a theoretical framework for analysis, and a valuable guide for practical language design and implementation. The work on programming environments helps to integrate the Constraint Programming tools into this application domain.
The European FP6 Strep project Net-WMS that we coordinate, makes us work on pure and non-pure bin packing problems combining discrete geometry constraints with physical, common sense and packing business rules, in the context of warehouse management systems for the automotive industry. In this context, we have developed a rule-based modeling language, called Rules2CP , to express requirements in a declarative and flexible manner, and its compiler to efficient constraint programs using a global constraint dedicated to geometrical placement problems in high dimensions, together with reified finite-domain constraints.