Volume 8, Number 2, July 2012

Constraint Programming News

volume 8, number 2, July, 2012

Jimmy Lee (events, career news)
Eric Monfroy (profiles, publications)
Toby Walsh (news, reports)


  • news: ACP EC Report, CONSTRAINT Journal, CP 2012 Call for Position Papers
  • journals: Constraints, Constraint Programming Letters
  • publications: software
  • events: forthcoming competition, conferences and workshops
  • career news: jobs




This is a short summary of activities within the ACP during the months April-June 2012.

The 2012 ACP Executive Committee comprises the following people, in alphabetical order (officers identified):

  • Yves Deville
  • John Hooker
  • Jimmy H.M. Lee - Secretary
  • Barry O'Sullivan - President
  • Thomas Schiex - Treasurer
  • Helmut Simonis
  • Peter Stuckey
  • Roland Yap

ACP.1. ACP Membership 2012-13

The ACP-EC encourages all researchers active in the area of constraint programming to ensure they have formally recorded their membership of the association by visiting our web-site - http://www.a4cp.org - and joining up by following the 'Join the ACP' link. Membership of the ACP is required to vote in elections and at the annual General Assembly.

ACP.2. ACP Executive Committee Elections 2012

As set out in the new by-laws there will be elections for _three_ new EC members in 2012. The elected terms of John Hooker, Barry O'Sullivan, and Peter Stuckey end in 2012. As set out in the bylaws an Election Committee has been formed chaired by Jimmy Lee. Nominations for candidates will be managed by that committee. Members of the association can nominate candidates. The committee will also proactively seek nominations. The formal text of the call for nominations has been circulated, and is attached below for your convenience. Please consider putting forward candidates for the

election, referring to the call text for details and deadlines.

ACP.3. CP Conference 2012

The ACP EC would like to extend an invitation to all members of the CP community to attend the CP 2012 conference in Quebec City, Canada. A sincere thanks goes to Michela Milano, whose job as PC Chair has taken much of her time recently as she finalised the conference proceedings. We wish Gilles Pesant and Claude-Guy Quimper, Conference Chairs, and their team every success as they prepare for the conference in October.

Web: http://www.cp2012.org

ACP.4. Advance Notice of the ACP General Assembly at CP 2012

The 2012 General Assembly of the Association for Constraint Programming will take place during the main technical programme of the conference. Further details will be circulated to members once the final conference programme is known. All members of the ACP are invited to attend.

ACP.5. ACP Summer School 2012

This year the 2012 ACP Summer School will take place in Wroclaw, Poland. The School will take place at the Institute of Computer Science of the University of Wroclaw, Poland from the 24-28 September 2012. The school will be devoted to the theory and applications of constraint technology.

The organizers are:

Krzysztof R. Apt (CWI and University of Amsterdam)

Witold Charatonik (University of Wroclaw)

Leszek Pacholski (University of Wroclaw)

For further details please see the school web-site.

ACP.6. ACP Summer School 2013

The ACP is delighted to announce that the 2013 ACP Summer School will be organized by the Optimisation Research Group at NICTA. The local arrangements committee consists of Phil Kilby, Peter Stuckey, Abdul Sattar, Sylvie Thiebaux, Pascal Van Hentenryck, Mark Wallace, and Toby Walsh (chair). The theme of the school is solving large scale combinatorial optimisation problems in practice. The school is intended for PhD students and postdocs, and will include both introductory and advanced material. Topics covered include: introduction to constraint programming, modelling, integer programming, global constraints, uncertainty, vehicle routing, scheduling, supply networks and research skills. Lecturers include Simon Dunstall, Mike Fellows, Phil Kilby, Pascal van Hentenryck, Martin Savelsbergh, Peter Stuckey, Mark Wallace and Toby Walsh. The school will be held at ANU's seaside conference retreat at Kioloa Kioloa on the New South Wales coast, 3 1/2 hours drive south of Sydney.

ACP.7. ACP Distinguished Service Award 2012

This year a strong field of nominees was received for the ACP Distinguished Service Award. A committee is being established by the EC for selecting the winning candidate.

ACP.8. ACP Doctoral Research Award 2012

A strong field of nominations has been received for the ACP Doctoral Research Award. A committee established by the EC is responsible for selecting the winning candidate for this award. Members from the general community are recruited to serve as reviewers and make recommendations on the overall winner. This year's committee is chaired by Roland Yap.

ACP.9. Call for Bids for CP-2013

We are issuing the Call for Bids for CP 2013.


We invite proposals to host the 19th International Conference on the Principles and Practice of Constraint Programming (CP-2013). Proposals are due on or before September 1st, 2012. These proposals will be evaluated by the Executive Committee of the Association for Constraint Programming and a decision made for the site shortly afterwards.

The CP conferences are the premier international conferences on constraint programming. They have been held annually since 1995. CP 2012 will be held in Quebec City (Canada). Previous CP conference have been held in Perugia (Italy)St. Andrews (Scotland), Lisbon (Portugal), Sydney (AUS), Providence RI USA), Nantes (France), Sitges (Spain), Toronto (Canada), Kinsale (Ireland), Cornell (USA), Paphos (Cyprus), Singapore, Alexandria (USA), Pisa (Italy), Schloss Hagenberg (Austria), Cambridge (USA), and Cassis (France).

Proposals should be up to two pages of plain text and should address the following numbered topics:

1.  Proposal for conference chair(s).

2.  Local CP community support.

3.  University, government and industry support, especially financial.

4.  Proposed dates, and flexibility around these dates.

5.  Co-located events that might be held alongside CP.

6.  Conference and exhibition facilities (CP typically attracts between 200 and 250 delegates).

7.  Accommodation and food services.

8.  Site accessibility, attractiveness, and desirability.

9.  Previous experience in running conferences and workshops.

10.Provisional budget.

If available, please include URLs to any additional information (e.g. web site for the conference venue or hotel).

Guidelines for the CP conference organization, as well as the duties of the conference chair(s), can be found on the ACP web site.

Proposals should be sent to the secretary of the Association for Constraint Programming committee preferably by email to mailto:secretary@a4cp.org. In preparing a proposal, please feel free to address questions (e.g. regarding the suitability of the proposed dates) to the same address, or to any member of the ACP Executive Committee.

Congratulations to Christian Bessiere and Marie-Odile Cordier for the Honorable Mention for their paper, "Arc-Consistency and Arc-Consistency Again" in the 2012 AAAI Classic Paper Awards.  The 2012 awards are being given to the most influential paper(s) from the Eleventh National Conference on Artificial Intelligence, held in 1993 in Washington, DC.

Congratulations to Francesca Rossi for being elected an AAAI fellow.

Congratulations to Barry O'Sullivan for being elected an ECCAI fellow.

CP2012: Call for Position Papers on the Future of Constraint Programming

Call For Position Papers on the Future of Constraint Programming

Eighteenth International Conference on Principles and Practice of Constraint Programming (CP'12) October 8-12, 2012, Quebec City, Canada

Deadline for Submissions: 23:59, July 31, 2012 (Samoa Standard Time)

The CP conference is the annual international conference on constraint programming. It is concerned with all aspects of computing with constraints, including theory, algorithms, environments, languages, models, systems, and applications such as decision making, resource allocation, and agreement technologies.

We are looking for position papers on the future of constraint programming including, but not limited to, promising technical directions, methodologies, application areas, system development, integration with other technologies and research fields, and open issues on all aspects of constraint programming. We are particularly interested in papers discussing the potential long-term contributions, scope, and impact of constraint programming and the roles it can play in artificial intelligence, computer science, operations research, programming languages, and various application domains such as big data, health, power systems, smart cities, social networks, and sustainability.

A selection of the position papers will be presented as part of a panel at the conference, with the goal of expressing as many viewpoints as possible and stimulating lively discussions. The position papers will not be published in the proceedings but a special issue of Constraints will collect the best position papers (as viewpoint papers). The goal is to publish a special issue as influential as the 1996 ACM Computing Survey issue, which had a significant impact in the field.

Track Chair

Pascal Van Hentenryck, NICTA, Australia


Organizing Committee

Frederic Benhamou, University of Nantes, France.

Claire Bagley, Oracle, USA.

Carla Gomes, Cornell University, USA

Michela Milano, University of Bologna, Italy.

Helmut Simonis, 4C, Ireland.

Mike Trick, CMU, USA.

Peter van Beek, University of Waterloo, Canada.

Submission Instructions

Submissions should be in LNCS format and should not to exceed 15 pages (not including references). Submission page.



Volume 17, Number 3 / July 2012

Improved filtering for weighted circuit constraints

Pascal Benchimol, Willem-Jan van Hoeve, Jean-Charles Régin, Louis-Martin Rousseau and Michel Rueher

Dulmage-Mendelsohn Canonical Decomposition as a generic pruning technique

Radoslaw Cymer

Solving constraint satisfaction problems with SAT modulo theories (application)

Miquel Bofill, Miquel Palahí, Josep Suy and Mateu Villaret

An overview of parallel SAT solving (survey)

Ruben Martins, Vasco Manquinho and Inês Lynce

Corrigendum to “Min-domain retroactive ordering for asynchronous backtracking” (letter)

Younes Mechqrane, Mohamed Wahbi, Christian Bessiere, El Houssine Bouyakhf,Amnon Meisels and Roie Zivan



Parma Polyhedra Library 1.0

We are very pleased to announce the availability of PPL 1.0, the latest release of the Parma Polyhedra Library, a modern library for the manipulation of convex polyhedra and other numerical abstractions especially targeted at static analysis and verification of complex software and hardware systems.

The new release, PPL 1.0, includes support for the optimized representation of sparse vectors of coefficients, achieving significant performance improvements, e.g., when dealing with constraint systems describing weakly relational abstractions such as boxes and octagonal shapes. Also included are a couple of bug fixes.

For more information, please come and visit the new PPL web site.


The PPL core development team:

Roberto Bagnara  Patricia M. Hill  Enea Zaffanella  Abramo Bagnara




MZNC12, The MiniZinc Challenge 2012, University of Melbourne, Australia. Results announced at CP 2012.  Submission deadline: 12 July 2012. http://www.g12.csse.unimelb.edu.au/minizinc/challenge2012/challenge.html http://www.g12.csse.unimelb.edu.au/minizinc/challenge2012/rules2012.html


CompSust 12 , 3rd International Conference on Computational Sustainability, July 5-6, 2012, Biocenter, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.

EURO 2012, 25th European Conference on Operational Research, July 8-11, 2012, Vilnius, Lithuania. 

SoCS 2012, 5th Annual Symposium on Combinatorial Search, July 19-21, 2012, Niagara Falls, Canada and Buffalo, New York. 

AAAI 2012, 26th Conference on Artificial Intelligence, July 22-26, 2012, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. 

Tutorial Forum@AAAI 2012, 26th Conference on Artificial Intelligence, July 22-26, 2012, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

SoCS 2012@AAAI 2012 , 5th Annual International Symposium on Combinatorial Search, July 19-21, 2012, Niagara Falls, Canada.

UAI 2012, 28th Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence, August

15-17, 2012, Catalina Island, USA. 

ISMP 2012, 21st International Symposium on Mathematical Programming, Berlin, Germany, August 19-24, 2012. 

ECAI 2012, 20th European Conference on Artificial Intelligence, August 27-31, 2012, Montpellier, France. 

DREAMAP 2012@ECAI 2012, Workshop on Diagnostic REAsoning: Model Analysis and Performance. 

STAIRS 2012@ECAI 2012, 6th "Starting Artificial Intelligence Research" Symposium. 

AIGM 2012@ECAI 2012 , Workshop on algorithmic issues for inference in graphical models.  http://www2.toulouse.inra.fr/AIGM12

M-PREF 2012@ECAI 2012, 6th Multidisciplinary Workshop on Advances in Preference Handling. 

CoCoMile 2012@ECAI 2012, Workshop on Combining Constraint solving with Mining and Learning. 

PRICAI 2012, 12th Pacific Rim International Conference on Artificial Intelligence, August 27-31, 2012, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia.

PPSN 2012, 12th International Conference on Parallel Problem Solving From Nature, September 1-5, 2012, Taormina, Italy.

ASTA 2012@PPSN 2012, Joint Workshop on Automated Selection and Tuning of Algorithms.

OR 2012, 54th Conference of the UK Operational Research Society, Edinburgh, September 4-6, 2012.


ICLP 2012, 28th International Conference on Logic Programming, September 4-8, 2012, Budapest, Hungary.

CICLOPS 2012@ICLP 2012, 12th International Colloquium on Implementation of Constraint and LOgic Programming Systems.

ANTS 2012, 8th International Conference on Swarm Intelligence, September 12-14, 2012, Brussels, Belgium.  

Matheuristics 2012 , 4th International Workshop on Model-Based Metaheuristics, September 16-21, 2012, Angra dos Reis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 

CLAIO, Congreso Latino-Iberoamericano de Investigacion Operativa, September 24-28 2012, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

CP 2012, 18th International Conference on Principles and Practice of Constraint Programming, October 8-12, 2012, Quebec City, Canada.

Workshop on Nonlinear Optimization and Constraint Programming.  Abstract submission deadline: August 31, 2012.

ModRef 2012@CP 2012, 11th International Workshop on Constraint Modelling and Reformulation. Paper submission deadline: July 16, 2012.

SymCon 2012@CP 2012, 12th International Workshop on Symmetry in Constraint Satisfaction Problems. Paper submission deadline: July 20, 2012.

Workshop@CP 2012, 1st Workshop on Nogood Learning and Constraint Programming. Paper submission deadline: July 20, 2012.

DP@CP 2012, Doctoral Programme.   

Meta 2012, International Conference on Metaheuristics and Nature Inspired Computing, 27-31 Oct 2012, Port El Kantaoui, Sousse, Tunisia.

MICAI-2012, 11th Mexican International Conference on ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, October 27 - November 4, 2012, San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

ICTAI 2012, 24th IEEE International Conference on Tools with Artificial Intelligence, November 7-9, 2012, Athens Greece.

AI 2012, 25th Australasian Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, December 4-7, 2012, Sydney, Australia. Paper submission deadline: July 13, 2012.

LION 2013, 7th Learning and Intelligent OptimizatioN Conference, January 7-11, 2013, Catania, Italy. Paper submission deadline: October 14, 2012.

ACM SAC 2013, 28th Annual ACM Symposium on Applied Computing, Track on Constraint Solving and Programming, March 18 - 22, 2013, Coimbra, Portugal.


[ICAPS] PhD Student position and scholarship "Formal Validation and Verification of Robotic Systems", Verimag Grenoble and LAAS/CNRS Toulouse, France

A PhD Scholarship in the area of "Formal Validation and Verification of Robotic Systems" is being offered jointly at Verimag, Grenoble and LAAS-CNRS, Toulouse, for the fall 2012, under the joint supervision of Saddek Bensalem and Felix Ingrand.  Application deadline: July 31

Formal Validation and Verification of Robotic Systems

Verimag and LAAS started a few years ago an effort to provide a framework to deploy robust and formally verifiable robotics software. They combined a state of the art tool for developing functional modules of robotic systems (GenoM) with a component based framework for implementing embedded real-time systems (BIP).  Over the years, they have successfully developed a first version of the GenoM/BIP component based design approach and applied it to the functional level of acomplex exploration rover. This original approach allows to:

-    produce a very fine grained formal computational model of the robot functional level;

-    run the BIP engine on the real robot, which executes and enforces the model semantics at runtime; and

-    check the model offline for deadlock freedom, as well as other safety properties using tools such as D-Finder.

The latest evolution of GenoM (GenoM3) is templates based, and while retaining the "codels", execution automata organization to implement functional module services and posters, it allows now to produce modules for different robotics middlewares (CSlib, ROS Com, etc). In parallel, recent evolutions of the BIP framework and toolset allow the use of timed models and models distribution over more than one CPU, and provide a realtime BIP Engine which is able to execute these models on the targeted platform.

The objective of this PhD is to pursue the joint GenoM/BIP effort to allow the development of robust and verifiable functional layer for robots, as well as to study the extensions of this approach toward the decisional level of the robot (planning/supervision).  This will be applied to different platforms, in particular on a PR2 (Willow Garage) robot at LAAS but also on a fleet of UAV each running its own GenoM/BIP model, with execution coordination (performed in BIP) among them.

Required candidate background:

-    major in computer science

-    software engineering and good programming skills (C/C++)

Background knowledge in the following areas would be a plus.

-    robot programming (fluency with tools like ROS, GenoM, Orocos, BCM, etc would be a plus)

-    formal methods for validation and verification

The PhD candidate will be mostly based at Verimag in Grenoble, but will make long visits (few months each year) at LAAS (Toulouse) to implement and test its work on the various robotic platforms (PR2, UAV, etc).

Bibliographic references presenting the background of the subject:

-    [1]  S. Bensalem, M. Bozga, T.-H. Nguyen, and J. Sifakis, "D-finder: A tool for compositional deadlock detection and verification,"Computer Aided Verification, no. Grenoble, France, 2009.

-    [2]  S. Bensalem, M. Gallien, F. Ingrand, I. Kahloul, and T.-H.  Nguyen, "Toward a More Dependable Software Architecture for Autonomous Robots,"Robotics & Automation Magazine, IEEE, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 67-77, 2009.

-    [3]  S. Bensalem, M. Bozga, T.-H. Nguyen, and J. Sifakis, "Compositional verification for component-based systems and application,"Software, IET, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 181-193, 2010.

-    [4]  S.  Bensalem, L. de Silva, A. Griesmayer, F. Ingrand, A.  Legay, and R. Yan, "A Formal Approach for Incremental Construction with an Application to Autonomous Robotic Systems," Software Composition, pp. 116-132, 2011.

-    [5]  S. Bensalem, L. de Silva, F. Ingrand, and R. Yan, "A Verifiable and Correct-by-Construction Controller for Robot Functional Levels,"Journal of Software Engineering for Robotics, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 1-19, Sep. 2011.

-    [6]  A. Mallet, C. Pasteur, M. Herrb, S. Lemaignan, and F.  Ingrand, "GenoM3: Building middleware-independent robotic components," presented at the Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2010 IEEE International Conference on, 2010, pp. 4627-4632.

PhD candidates should send:

-    a letter of motivation,

-    a resume,

-    grades of their master and a copy of their master thesis (pdf),

-    recommendation letters,

to mailto:felix@laas.fr and mailto:saddelk.bensalem@imag.fr before 31/07/2012

Start date of the PhD, fall 2012. Duration 3 years.

Scholarship : 1700 £áOC gross, 1370   £áOC net

Felix Ingrand and Saddek Bensalem


Exciting PhD studentship available looking at Constraint Programming applied to Autonomous Spacecraft

The School of Computing at the University of Dundee has secured studentship funding for an exciting project related to computer networks for use onboard spacecraft. The funding comprises a PhD stipend of around £3,500 per annum along with fees being paid. The research is part funded by EPSRC and part funded by STAR-Dundee Ltd, a spin-out company from the School of Computing. STAR-Dundee and the Space Technology Centre are in the process of moving to the fully refurbished STAR-House, 166 Nethergate (formerly the Careers building). The student will work with a highly experience team that has been working on spacecraft networks for over 15 years, designing chips, hardware, and software. Due to the EPSRC funding rules only EU candidates can be accepted.

The PhD research will explore the use of constraint programming and related techniques for spacecraft applications, in particular within spacecraft onboard networks. Optimal network configuration and traffic scheduling are two possible research areas. Further details of the research area are provided below.

If you are at all interested in this opportunity please contact Karen Petrie: karenpetrie@computing.dundee.ac.uk

*Constraints Programming for Automomous Spacecraft*

SpaceWire is a computer network designed for use onboard spacecraft that connects together instruments, mass-memory, and the payload control computer. SpaceWire was developed for the European Space Agency (ESA) by the Space Technology Centre at the University of Dundee, with input from spacecraft engineers across Europe. SpaceWire is now being used or designed into over 100 spacecraft in the USA, Europe, Japan, China and other countries.

Constraint programming is a multidisciplinary technology combining computer science, operational research and mathematics. Constraints arise in design & configuration, planning & scheduling, diagnosis & testing, and in many other contexts. CP is used to solve problems in telecommunication, e-commerce, electronics, bioinformatics, transportation, network management, supply chain management, and many other fields.

A constraint program consists of a set of variables, a set of possible values for each variable and a set of constraints. For example, the problem might be to fit components (values) to circuit boards (variables), subject to the constraints that no two components overlap and that the connections between them are as short as possible. A solution to a CP is an assignment of values to variables such that none of the constraints are violated.  This solution is found by searching through all possible configurations until a satisfactory one is established. Inference techniques are applied to each of the constraints so that this does not degrade into exponential search.

The proposed PhD research project will explore how constraints programming can be used to solve problems arising in autonomous spacecraft, related in particular to SpaceWire onboard networks. Three specific areas of research of particular interest are outlined below.

SpaceWire networks comprise nodes the sources and destinations of data, routing switches that switch packets of data, and links that connect nodes and routing switches together to form a network. The optimal design of a SpaceWire network depends upon the traffic that is to be transferred over the network along with specific limitation on communication imposed by the wormhole routing adopted by SpaceWire. Novel network architectures will be explored using constraint programming to derive the architecture taking as constraints the specific sources and destinations of data and the available network resources, i.e. SpaceWire links.

SpaceWire-D is a proposed time-division multiplexing scheme for providing deterministic data delivery over SpaceWire. The aim of SpaceWire-D is to extend the range of applications of SpaceWire to include spacecraft guidance and control networks. This would permit a single onboard network to be used for all avionics: payload data-handling and guidance and navigation control. SpaceWire-D provides the underlying scheduling of traffic on the network. There is a need for a software tool to support the spacecraft system engineer in defining the most appropriate traffic schedules for different modes of operation of the spacecraft.  It is thought that constraint programming is a possible means of deriving the optimum schedule given various communication requirements. The proposed research will consider suitable forms for expressing communication requirements for a SpaceWire-D network, in terms of required bandwidth, latency and determinism of data delivery. The constraints programming scheme will then be designed, implemented and assessed. The evaluation criteria used will be effective use of network resources and determinism of critical data delivery.

SpaceFibre is a new standard being developed for ESA by the University of Dundee. It offers multi gigabit/second data rates, comprehensive quality of service, integral fault detection, isolation and recovery (FDIR) and compatibility with SpaceWire at the packet level. Many SpaceWire links can be multiplexed over a single SpaceFibre link, providing a series of independent virtual channels. These virtual channels can be used to construct virtual point-to-point links across a network (for connecting an instrument directly to a mass memory unit) or virtual networks (for connecting a control processor to many instruments). The number of virtual channels that can be supported in a routing switch is limited by the on chip resources. The problem then becomes how to allocate the virtual channels in a network to provide the optimum set of virtual point-to-point links and virtual networks that meet the specific network communication requirements. Constraints programming will be explored as a means of solving this problem. A software tool will be designed and used to test the suitability of the constraints programming approach.

Karen Elizabeth Jefferson Petrie,

Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow,

School of Computing,

University of Dundee,

Dundee, DD1 4HN


Tel: 01382 388613

email: karenpetrie@computing.dundee.ac.uk


Research Fellows (Supply Chain Optimisation & Automated Planning - updated)




Applications close 8 July 2012


Professor Peter Stuckey & Assoc Professor Adrian Pearce

The University of Melbourne are seeking two outstanding Research Fellows to conduct leading edge research in supply chain optimisation and automated planning for mine scheduling.

The positions will be located in the Department of Computing and Information Systems within the Melbourne School of Engineering.


Salary $100,355-$115,715 AUD p.a. (Senior Research Fellow) or $81,925-$97,283 (Research Fellow) plus 9% superannuation; Employment type: Full-time Fixed Term


The successful candidates will conduct leading-edge research and development in the area of optimisation for mine scheduling. The work is part of an ARC funded project, "Making the Pilbara Blend: Agile Mine Scheduling through Contingent Planning".

As part of the team, working with Professor Peter Stuckey and Assoc Professor Adrian Pearce, you would be involved in discovering more agile contingent planning techniques for solving new classes of scheduling and planning problems. The overarching responsibility of this position will be the development of optimisation techniques for synthesising more robust plans for short term production scheduling of iron ore in distributed, multi-mine pit settings.

The role of the Supply Chain Optimisation Fellow will involve computational approaches to optimising supply chain management, such as constraint solving techniques, combinatorial optimisation and/or network flow techniques, especially those for distributed multi-agent problems.

The role of the Automated Planning and Scheduling Fellow will involve planning languages such as those based on the situation calculus, classical planning techniques and/or model-checking techniques, especially those for distributed multi-agent problems.

This project tackles a challenging problem faced in mine scheduling. An increased need for consistent quality has occurred at the same time as the complexity of modern day mining operations has increased, across multiple mine sites with variable ore grades and increasing infrastructure constraints. There is a pressing need for more agile mining techniques that maximise net present value (NPV) while accommodating the complexities and uncertainties inherent in modern day mining operations.

The goal of this project is to bring together automated planning techniques with constraint programming to address this paradigm shift. The research tackles plan synthesis for the multi-commodity, multi-mine site supply chain problem and promises to lead to improved techniques for collaborative planning and solving hard constraint problems. The theoretical significance of this project derives from the fundamental challenge posed by the problem underlying dynamic scheduling. On the one hand, optimisation must take into account nondeterminism - the uncertain outcomes of actions inherent in the problem - and on the other must lead to feasible plans for each mine site - while continuing to solve the necessary constraints for the overall supply chain schedule during the course of continuing (non-terminating) execution.

The project will develop agile scheduling techniques of great economic importance. Carefully planned scheduling has the potential to reduce the need for new infrastructure, minimising environmental impacts and maximising regeneration after mining. More details can be found at http://www.agentlab.unimelb.edu.au/mining.html


The Chief investigators of this project are Associate Professor Adrian Pearce & Professor Peter Stuckey, in the Department of Computing and Information Systems within the Melbourne School of Engineering.

Optimisation group of NICTA: http://www.nicta.com.au/research/optimisation

G12 Constraint Programming Platform: http://www.nicta.com.au/research/projects/constraint_programming_platform

Intelligent Agent Laboratory (Agentlab): http://www.agentlab.unimelb.edu.au/


Research Fellow in Supply Chain Optimisation: position number 0028933 (closing 8 July 2012)

Research Fellow in Automated Planning and Scheduling: position number 0028932 (closing 8 July 2012)

Contact: For more information, please contact Adrian Pearce, mailto:adrianrp@unimelb.edu.au



Adrian Pearce

Department of Computing and Information Systems,

The University of Melbourne, Melbourne VIC 3010

Phone: +61 3 8344 1399 adrianrp@unimelb.edu.au



Postdoc positions in SAT/SMT-based Verification available in Trento

One post-doc position in ICT on the research project "Advanced SMT Techniques for Word-level Formal Verification - (WOLF)" is available in Trento, Italy, under the joint supervision of Alessandro Cimatti, FBK, Trento, and Roberto Sebastiani, DISI, University of Trento.

The research activity will be carried out jointly within the Embedded Systems (ES) Research Unit of the Center for Scientific and Technological Research of the Fondazione Bruno Kessler (FBK), Trento, and the Software Engineering, Formal Methods & Security  Research Program, at Department of Information Engineering and Computer Science (DISI) of University of Trento.

Aim and Scope



The research activity will aim at investigating and developing nove techniques, methodologies and support tools for Satisfiability Modulo Theories (SMT) for the formal verification of systems.  This work will be part of the "Advanced SMT Techniques for Word-level Formal Verification - (WOLF)" project, a three-year research project supported by SRC/GRC (http://www.src.org/compete/s201113/), in strict collaboration with the Formal Verification Group at Intel, Haifa, and other major HW companies.

The ultimate goal of the WOLF project is to provide a comprehensive SMT package to support effective formal verification of systems ranging from RTL circuits all the way up to high-level hardware description languages (e.g. SystemC) and software. The package will be implemented on top of the MathSAT SMT platform (http://mathsat.fbk.eu/), and provided as an API.

Candidate Profile


The ideal candidate should have an PhD in computer science or related discipline, and combine solid theoretical background and excellent software development skills (in particular C/C++).

A solid background knowledge and/or previous experience on Satisfiability Modulo Theory (SMT) and/or Propositional Satisfiability (SAT) is required.  Previous experience in the following areas will also be considered favourably: Model Checking, Automated Reasoning, Constraint Solving and Optimization, Embedded Systems Design Languages (e.g. Verilog, VHDL).

The candidate should be able to work in a collaborative environment, with a strong committment to reaching research excellence and achieving assigned objectives.

Terms and dates


The position will start as soon as possible, and will have to be renewed yearly, for a maximum of three years.  The expected salary will range from about 2200 to 2400 euros net income, and the gross will include previdential (social security) contributions.  Facilities for meals at the local canteen can be provided.

Applications and Inquiries


Interested candidates should inquire for further information and/or apply by sending email to wolf-recruit@disi.unitn.it, with subject 'POSTDOC ON WOLF PROJECT'.

Applications should contain a statement of interest, with a Curriculum Vitae, and the names of reference persons. PDF format is strongly encouraged. It should also indicate an estimated starting date.

Contact Persons



Embedded Systems Research Unit,


via Sommarive 18, I-38123 Povo, Trento, Italy



Software Engineering, Formal Methods & Security Research

Program DISI, University of Trento,

via Sommarive 14, I-38123 Povo, Trento, Italy



The Embedded Systems Research Unit at FBK


The Embedded Systems Unit consists of about 15 persons, including researchers, post-Doc, Ph.D. students, and programmers.  The Unit carries out research, tool development and technology transfer in the fields of design and verification of embedded systems.

Current research directions include:

-    Satisfiability Modulo Theory, and its application to the verification of hardware, embedded critical software, and hybrid systems (Verilog, SystemC, C/C++, StateFlow/Simulink).

-    Formal Requirements Analysis based on techniques for temporal logics (consistency checking, vacuity detection, input determinism, cause-effect analysis, realizability and synthesis).

-    Formal Safety Analysis, based on the integration of traditional techniques (e.g. Fault-tree analysis, FMEA) with symbolic verification techniques.

The Embedded Systems Unit is part of Fondazione Bruno Kessler, formerly Istituto Trentino di Cultura, a public research institute of the Autonomous Province of Trento (Italy), founded in 1976. The institute, through its center for the scientific and technological research, is active in the areas of Information Technology, Microsystems, and Physical Chemistry of Surfaces and Interfaces. Today, FBK is an internationally recognized research institute, collaborating with industries, universities, and public and private laboratories in Italy and abroad.  The institute's applied and basic research activities aim at resolving real-world problems, driven by the need for technological innovation in society and industry.

The SW Engineering, Formal Methods & Security Research Program at DISI


The SW Engineering, Formal Methods & Security R. P. at DISI currently consists on 5 faculties, various post-docs and PhD students. The Unit carries out research, tool development and technology transfer in the fields of Goal-Oriented Requirements Engineering, Agent-oriented SW engineering, Security, and Formal Methods.

Referring to formal methods, current research directions include:

-    Satisfiability Modulo Theory, and its application to the verification of hardware, embedded critical software, and hybrid systems.

-    Optimization in SMT and its applications.

-    Advanced Model Checking Techniques for Formal Verification of hardware, embedded critical software, and hybrid systems.


The R.P. is part of the Department of Information Engineering and Computer Science, DISI (http://disi.unitn.it/) of University of Trento. University of Trento in the latest years has always been rated among the top-three small&medium-size universities in Italy.  DISI currently consists of 50 faculties, 68 research staff and support people, 21 postdocs and 146 Doctoral students, plus administrative and technical staff. DISI covers all the different areas of information technology (computer science, telecommunications, and electronics) and their applications. These disciplines above are studied individually but also with a strong focus on their integration,



Trento is a lively town of about 100.000 inhabitants, located 130 km south of the border between Italy and Austria. It is well known for the beauty of its mountains and lakes, and it offers the possibility to practice a wide range of sports.  Trento enjoys a rich cultural and historical heritage, and it is the ideal starting point for day trips to famous towns such as Venice or Verona, as well as to enjoy great naturalistic journeys. Detailed information about Trento and its region can be found at http://www.trentino.to/home/index.html?_lang=en.


Doctoral and post-doctoral research positions in hybrid reasoning/learning for intelligent robots

The University of Aveiro (UA) is seeking applications for two doctoral research positions (3 years max) and one post-doctoral research position (2 years max) in the area of hybrid knowledge representation, reasoning and learning for intelligent robots.

Through previous projects conducted at the Transverse Activity on Intelligent Robotics (ATRI/UA), we have been working on the integration of reactivity, deliberation, learning and interactivity for intelligent robots. In the framework of   RACE ("Robustness by Autonomous Competence Enhancement"), an ongoing project funded by EU FP7, ATRI/UA is currently collaborating on the development of an artificial cognitive system able to build a high-level understanding of the world it inhabits by storing and exploiting appropriate memories of its experiences. The project developments will be integrated and demonstrated on a PR2 robot, from Willow Garage. The University of Aveiro is involved in the development of modules concerned with semantic interpretation, recording and conceptualization of experiences of plan-based activities, and human-robot interaction.

In this context, the following positions are open:

-    D1) Doctoral (PhD student) position focused on conceptualizing robot plan-based activities, such that robot performance on   task planning and execution improves with accumulated experiences and conceptualizations. There is a focus on problem solving and failure recovery, as well as on human-robot interaction for guiding plan-based experiences.

Additional information:


-    D2) Doctoral (PhD student) position focused on conceptualizing objects and scenes, such that robot performance on object and scene recognition improves with accumulated experiences and conceptualizations. There is a focus on 3D environment perception and open-ended learning, as well as on human-robot interaction for naming objects and scenes and for providing corrective feedback.

Additional information:


-    PD) Post-doctoral position funded in the framework of the RACE project for 1 year, renewable up to 2 years. This researcher  will focus on unsupervised aspects of experience gathering and experience-based learning and will also contribute to the integration of diverse functionalities for a successful participation of UA in the mentioned project.

Additional information:


Candidates should have a strong background in computer science and, preferably, also in relevant topics in artificial intelligence and robotics, namely machine learning, knowledge representation, AI planning, object recognition and human-robot interaction.

At the time of starting any of the two doctoral scholarships (D1 and D2 above), candidates must be registered in a relevant doctoral programme at the University of Aveiro. It is recommended that doctoral scholarship candidates also apply for admission to MAP-i, the Joint Doctoral Programme in Computer Science of the Universities of Minho, Aveiro and Porto (http://www.map.edu.pt/i). MAP-i admission applications can be submitted by July 13, 2012 (recommended) or by September 14, 2012.

Applications to the announced doctoral/post-doctoral positions must be submitted by July 25, 2012, via e-mail to Luís Seabra Lopes (lsl at ua dot pt). The evaluation and ranking of candidates will be communicated via e-mail.

Further information about UA


The University of Aveiro is in the top 2% universities in "Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2011-2012", and is also among the top 100 universities in the world with less than 50 years. UA is attended by about 15,000 students on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. ATRI/UA has been conducting projects leading to the development of integrated architectures for intelligent robotic systems. This group is well known for its successful participation in many robotic competitions (RoboCup, Portuguese Robotics Festival, AAAI, SRVC, etc.)

Additional information:




Postdoctoral position in Power System and Green Energy School of Engineering, Melbourne University, Australia

Achieving Cost-effective Abatement from Australian Electricity Generation

The Melbourne School of Engineering has recently been successful in a proposal with other academic and industry partners to work on a project titled "Achieving Cost-effective Abatement from Australian Electricity Generation". This project has two, specific aims:

1.  to determine the least-cost pathways for establishing a low greenhouse, national electricity network; and

2.  to determine the likely electricity market dynamics in such networks.

A postdoctoral research fellow is sought to work on the first of these aims. He/she will work with specialists who are modeling Australia's renewable energy potential, and examine how to integrate both thermal and renewable plant into the national transmission network, such that deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are achieved for minimum total cost.

Funding is available for 2 years, full time, subject to satisfactory performance at the end of the first year. The fellow will work as part of a larger team, but mainly with Assoc. Prof. Michael Brear (power plant dynamics), Assoc. Prof. Chris Manzie (power system control and optimization), Prof. Pascal Van Hentenryck (optimization), and the Australian Electricity Market Operator (AEMO).

The ideal candidate for this position will have experience in optimization methods as well as the modeling of transmission networks and/or power plants. Applicants with a PhD in one or more of power generation, transmission systems, control systems and optimization are encouraged to apply.

The fellow should be able to commence work before the end of 2012. Potential applicants should first send expressions of interest and their CV to Assoc. Prof. Brear (mjbrear@unimelb.edu.au) by Friday 17th August.


SENIOR LECTURER (ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR) POSITION IN COMPUTING SCIENCE Uppsala University, Department of Information Technology, Sweden

With a staff of 250, of which 30 are full professors, 70 other are senior academic staff, and 100 are PhD students, the department has a leading position in research and education in Sweden.

The position is oriented towards research and education on programming, and its scope thus covers constraint programming (CP).  Uppsala University has a lively research group on constraint programming (http://www.it.uu.se/research/group/astra/), which welcomes expansion.

The application deadline is August 31st.  Refer to http://www.uu.se/jobb/teacher/annonsvisning?languageId=1&tarContentId=198073 for the formal announcement of the position, to http://www.it.uu.se for more information about the Department of Information Technology, and to http://www.it.uu.se/research/csd for more information about the Computing Science Division.


If you are interested in this position from a CP perspective, then please contact Pierre.Flener at it.uu.se.