Volume 7, Number 3, October 2011

Constraint Programming News

volume 7, number 3, October, 2011

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





This is a short summary of activities within the ACP during the months July-September 2011.

The 2011 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

The ACP Executive Committee welcomes feedback and suggestions from the ACP community. We encourage you to engage with the ACP-EC to help design new initiatives that promote constraint programming.

ACP.1. Comment on CP 2011

On behalf of the ACP, the Executive Committee would like to congratulate the various people responsible for making CP 2011 in Perugia such a wonderful success. A very special thanks goes to Stefano Bistarelli (Conference Chair), Jimmy Lee (Program Chair), Helmut Simonis (Applications Track Chair and Official Photographer), Christian Schulte (Workshop and Tutorial Chair), Chris Jefferson and Guido Tack (Doctoral Program Chairs), and Ian Miguel (Sponsorship Chair). Stefano was supported by an excellent local organisation team (the Red Team) who are all listed on the conference web-site:


The attendance at the conference was very strong at 178. A number of press reports from Giornale dell'Umbria and Corriere dell'Umbria can be found on the conference web-site also.

ACP.2. ACP Research Excellence Award 2011 -- Professor Patrick Prosser

The 2011 ACP Research Excellence Award was made at CP 2011. The award committee was chaired by the ACP President (Barry O'Sullivan). The members were Rina Dechter, Jimmy Lee, Alan Mackworth, and Pascal Van Hentenryck. The committee recommended that this year's award go to Professor Patrick Prosser. Pat's citation reads as follows: "awarded in recognition of a programme of seminal and outstanding scientific contributions to both the theory and practice of constraint programming." Pat was nominated by Ian Gent, Barbara Smith and Toby Walsh. Pat gave his acceptance talk through the use of a video, which he and Ian Gent made, followed by a Q&A. This is available for viewing from YouTube (search for Patrick Prosser).

CP.3. ACP Doctoral Research Award 2010

This year's committee responsible for selecting the winning candidate for this award was chaired by Roland Yap. The members of the committee were Peter van Beek and Toby Walsh. The recipient of the award was Standa Zivny for his doctoral dissertation entitled "The Complexity and Expressive Power of Valued Constraints". Guido was nominated by Peter Jeavons (Oxford). On behalf of the ACP, the Executive Committee would like to once again congratulate Standa on his achievement.

Michele Lombardi, nominated by Michela Milano, received an honourable mention for his dissertation entitled "Hybrid Methods for Resource Allocation and Scheduling Problems in Deterministic and Stochastic Environments."

ACP.4. ACP General Assembly 2011

During the CP 2011 conference, the annual ACP General Assembly took place. It was chaired by the current ACP President, Barry O'Sullivan, and was well attended by the community. The reports and minutes of the assembly will be made available from the ACP web-site.

ACP.5. CP 2012 Conference

The CP 2012 conference will be held in Quebec City, Canada. The Conference Chairs for the conference will be Gilles Pesant and Claude-Guy Quimper, with an additional Local Chair in Louis Martin Rouseau.

ACP.6. CP 2012 Program Chair

The ACP is delighted to announce that the CP 2012 Program Chair will be Michela Milano (Bologna).

ACP.7. Expressions of Interest in Hosting CP 2013 and CP 2014

The ACP likes to plan CP conferences two years in advance. We are therefore interested in hearing expressions of interest from those who are considering hosting the conference in 2013 and 2014. A formal call for proposals will be issued early in the new year. In the meantime please consider discussing organising the conference with the ACP Secretary at secretary@a4cp.org.

ACP.8. Call for Proposals to Host the ACP Summer School 2012

Members of the CP community who are interested in organizing the 2012 ACP Summer School should send a proposal to secretary@a4cp.org by November 30th 2011, containing at least the following information:

  1. topic of the school
  2. location
  3. dates
  4. organizers
  5. provisional budget
Since its establishment, the summer school has been a major success with feedback from student attendees being very positive.

NSF Fellowship in Computational Sustainability

The Institute for Computational Sustainability (ICS) is interested in serving as the host institution for NSF Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability (SEES) Fellows applicants in the area of computational sustainability. Candidates interested in potential collaboration with ICS are encouraged to submit initial proposals of interest to ICS.

In accordance with its mission and interdisciplinary focus, ICS seeks candidates (per NSF requirement, U.S. citizens or nationals, or permanent U.S. residents) with a strong computational and analytical background and interest in environmental, economic, societal, or energy related computational sustainability topics.

Interested candidates should submit to comp_sust@cs.cornell.edu a CV withrefereed publications list, a cover letter and a 2-page research proposal highlighting the research interests of the candidate, the relevance of proposed research to the field of computational sustainability and beyond, the potential collaborations with ICS researchers, and the specific research areas and directions of interest no later than November 11, 2011. Please submit materials with "SEES Fellow Application-[last name]" in the subject line.

For further information on ICS interest in hosting a SEES Fellow, see

and for further information on the NSF's requirements for this program, see

Call For Participation

Winter School on Constraint Programming and Constraint Handling Rules


November 14-17, 2011, University of Ulm, Germany In collaboration with the German University in Cairo

After the success of the spring course in Venice and two summer schools on Constraint Programming and Constraint Handling Rules in Leuven and Cairo (fully booked with 50 participants), we offer a free winter school this time.

Constraint Programming (CP) makes it possible to model and specify problems with uncertain, incomplete information and to solve combinatorial problems, as they are abundant in industry and commerce, such as scheduling, planning, transportation, resource allocation, layout, design, and analysis.

Constraint Handling Rules (CHR) is both a versatile theoretical formalism based on logic and an efficient practical high-level programming language based on declarative rules and constraints. Well- understood analysis techniques are available for the language. CHR applications will be presented as well.

Lecturers include:
Slim Abdennadher, GUC Cairo
Carmen Gervet, GUC Cairo
Jon Sneyers, K.U. Leuven
Thom Fruehwirth, University of Ulm
Johannes Langbein, University of Ulm
Remy Haemmerle, UPM Madrid

This Master level course is planned for 25 lecture and lab hours. The course is also open for Bachelor and PhD students. Basic knowledge of logic and Prolog will be helpful. Certificate of participation and grading is possible on request.

The course is based on the books "Essentials of Constraint Programming", Abdennadher and Fruehwirth, Springer, and "Constraint Handling Rules", Fruehwirth, Cambridge University Press.

How to Participate - Apply Now!

The course is offered free of charge. Please email your application with your academic details and interests to Thom.Fruehwirth at uni-ulm.de. Places are limited and will be offered on a first-come first-served basis. Application deadline is October 30, 2011. Accomodation is on your own. Ulm can be reached by train from several nearby international airports. Once accepted, students will receive information about the location and time of the course, public transport and accommodation hints. For details, follow the link above.

[ICAPS] Survey on the software of the Seventh IPC

After the IPC, I am still maintaining the software developed at the Seventh International Planning Competition. New services have been implemented and the documentation has been extended (a new announcement is on the way indeed). While it just seems to me that there is some potential on the new software I am very interested in your view.

I have set up a survey at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FG9NJZF

It is only 10 questions and it would be definitely great if you could take just 5 minutes to fulfill it, especially if you submitted an entry to the last IPC or if you do usually evaluate automated planners.

In any case, please feel free to contact me directly to make more comments or any sort of clarifications.

[ICAPS] Call for Nominations: "ICAPS Best Dissertation Award"

This award honors an outstanding Ph.D. dissertation in any area of automated planning and scheduling. It will be given during the ICAPS conference.

PhD dissertations that were completed and filed in 2010 or 2011 will be considered for the ICAPS-12 Best Dissertation Award. The recipient will receive a certificate and 500 USD.

The award committee is requesting nominations of candidate PhDs.

The nomination material should include the following:

  • a CV of the candidate with a complete list of publications,
  • a copy of the dissertation,
  • a nomination letter by the PhD advisor (this letter must specify the completion/filing date of the dissertation)
  • two additional recommendation letters or a copy of the request for such letters. If a request is submitted in lieu of the actual recommendation letter, the letter itself must be received by 15 February 2012.
Nominations should be submitted in electronic form (preferably as a single PDF file or the URL of such a file) to the ICAPS Award Committee chair: mark.boddy@adventiumlabs.org

A word of caution: it is possible to postpone asking recommenders for their letters until the very last minute (31 January), leaving them only two weeks to get the letters in to the committee. This seems to us to be a high-risk strategy. We urge nominators to request these letters as soon as possible, since the recommenders may need to familiarize themselves with the contents of the thesis. Nominators are responsible for ensuring that the letters of recommendation are submitted by the final deadline. The committee will not solicit missing letters, nor will it review incomplete nomination packets.

The dissertation should preferably be written in English. However, we accept dissertations not written in English if they are submitted together with the following documents that must be written in English: an extended abstract of the dissertation, a series of papers that cover the key results of the dissertation and a document that describes the mapping from the papers to the chapters of the dissertation. Students who did not win an award last year can be nominated again if they are still eligible this year.

More information on the ICAPS conference series can be found at the following URL:

Submission deadline: 31 January 2012

[ICAPS] Call for Nominations: "ICAPS Influential Paper Award"

This award honors the authors of a significant and influential paper in any area of automated planning and scheduling. It will be given during the ICAPS conference.

Papers that qualify for the award are those published in one of the ICAPS family of conferences (ICAPS, ECP, EWSP, AIPS) at least 10 years before the year of the current conference (i.e, up to 2002 for this year's award).

The recipients of the 2012 award will receive a certificate, 500 USD and one complimentary registration to the ICAPS-2012 conference.

The award committee is requesting nominations of candidate papers.

The nomination material should include:

  • the reference of the nominated paper,
  • the reasons in favor of the nomination,
  • either a URL from which the paper can be retrieved or a copy of the paper itself. Please contact the committee if this last requirement causes any difficulties.

Nominations should be submitted in electronic form to the ICAPS Award Committee chair: mark.boddy@adventiumlabs.org

Submission deadline: 15 January 2012

AAAI is Moving!

Dear AAAI Members,

Please note that AAAI is moving its office on November 8, 2011 to a new location in Palo Alto. Our new address will be

2275 East Bayshore Road, Suite 160
Palo Alto, California 94303, USA

You can begin to use this address as of November 1, 2011 for all postal mail. Our phone and email contact information will remain the same.

Due to the move, the AAAI office will be closed November 7-11.

Best regards,
Carol Hamilton
Executive Director, AAAI


CONSTRAINTS Journal Accepted Papers

Volume 16, Number 4 / October 2011

STR2: optimized simple tabular reduction for table constraints
Christophe Lecoutre
pp. 341-371

New algorithms for max restricted path consistency
Thanasis Balafoutis, Anastasia Paparrizou, Kostas Stergiou and Toby Walsh
pp. 372-406

MDD propagators with explanation
Graeme Gange, Peter J. Stuckey and Radoslaw Szymanek
pp. 407-429



Programming Competition 2011 to solve the Magic Square Problem using modern heuristic methods. Deadline: 22 November 2011.


KI 2011, 34th German Conference on Artificial Intelligence, October 4-7, 2011, Berlin, Germany.

ICTAI 2011, 23rd IEEE International Conference on Tools with Artificial Intelligence, November 7-9, 2011, Boca Raton, Florida, USA.

MIWAI 2011, 5th Multi-disciplinary International Workshop on Artificial Intelligence, December 7-9, 2011, Hyderabad, India.

ISAIM 2012, 12th International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence and Mathematics, January 9-11, 2012, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.

LION 6, Learning and Intelligent OptimizatioN Conference, January 16-20, 2012, Paris, France. Paper submission deadline: October 28, 2011.

LION-S*EA 2012@LION 6, speicial seesion "Autonomous Control for Search Algorithms", January 16-20, 2012, Paris, France. Paper submission deadline: October 28, 2011.

PADL 2012, 14th International Symposium on Practical Aspects of Declarative Languages, January 23-24, 2012, Pennsylvania, USA. Abstract submission deadline: September 10, 2011. Paper submission deadline: September 17, 2011.

ICAART 2012, 4th International Conference on Agents and Artificial Intelligence, February 6-8, 2012, Vilamoura, Algarve, Portugal.

FoIKS 2012, 7th International Symposia on Foundations of Information and Knowledge Systems, March 5-9, 2012, Kiel, Germany.

ACAI 2012, the International Conference on Automatic Control and Artificial Intelligence, March 24-26, 2012, Xiamen, China. Paper submission deadline: November 10, 2011.

ACM SAC 2012, 27th Annual ACM Symposium on Applied Computing, March 25-29, 2012, Riva del Garda (Trento), Italy.

GRAPHITE 2012@ETAPS, 1st Workshop on GRAPH Inspection and Traversal Engineering, March 31 - April 1, 2012, Tallinn, Estonia. Paper submission deadline: January 4, 2012.

ROADEF 2012, 13th congress of the French Society of Operations Research and Decision Support, Special session "Deterministic global optimization", April 11-13, 2012, Angers, France. Paper submission deadline: November 13, 2011.

ICCI 2012, 8th International Conference on Computational Intelligence, April 11-13, 2012, Barcelona, Spain. Paper submission deadline: November 30, 2011.

ECCO 2012, 25th Conference of the European Chapter on Combinatorial Optimization, April 26-28, 2012, Antalya, Turkey. Paper submission deadline: February 1, 2012.

ICAISC 2012, 11th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Soft Computing, April 29 - May 3, 2012, Zakopane, Poland. Paper submission deadline: October 20, 2011.

FLAIRS 2012, 25th International Florida Artificial Intelligence Research Society Conference Conference Silver Anniversary, May 23-25, 2012, Marco Island, Florida, USA. Paper submission deadline: November 21, 2011.

CPAIOR 2012, 9th International Conference on Integration of Artificial Intelligence and Operations Research Techniques in Constraint Programming, May 28 - June 1, 2012, Nantes, France. Abstract submission deadline: December 01, 2011. Paper submission deadline: December 05, 2011.

KR 2012, 13th International Conference on Principles of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning, June 10-14, 2012, Rome, Italy. Abstract submission deadline: November 30, 2011. Paper submission deadline: December 9, 2011

CEC 2012@WCCI, Special Session on Evolutionary Computation in Scheduling 2012 IEEE World Congress on Evolutionary Computation, June 10-15, 2012, Brisbane, Australia. Paper submission deadline: December 19, 2011.

ICAPS 2012, 22nd International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling, June 24-28, 2012, Atibaia, Sao Paulo Brazil. Workshop proposal submission deadline: October 21, 2011. Abstract submission deadline: December 09, 2011. Paper submission deadline: December 16, 2011.

Special Track@ICAPS 2012, Continuous Planning, 22nd International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling, June 24-28, 2012, Atibaia, Sao Paulo Brazil. Abstract Submission Date: December 9, 2011. Paper Submission Date: December 16, 2011.

EURO 2012, 25th European Conference on Operational Research, July 8-11, 2012, Vilnius, Lithuania. Abstract Submission Deadline: February 29, 2012.

AAAI 2012, 26th Conference on Artificial Intelligence, July 22-26, 2012, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Paper submission Deadline: January 14, 2012.

Tutorial Forum@AAAI 2012, 26th Conference on Artificial Intelligence, July 22-26, 2012, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Proposal submission Deadline: December 2, 2011.

UAI 2012, 28th Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence, August 15-17, 2012, Catalina Island, USA. Paper submission deadline: March 16, 2012.

ECAI 2012, 20th European Conference on Artificial Intelligence, August 27-31, 2012, Montpellier, France. Paper submission deadline: March 6, 2012. Workshop proposal submission deadline: January 6, 2012. Wokrshop paper submission deadline: May 28, 2012.

PRICAI 2012, 12th Pacific Rim International Conference on Artificial Inteligence, August 27-31, 2012, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia. Paper submission deadline: March 1, 2012.

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

Matheuristics'2012, 4th International Workshop on Model-Based Metaheuristics, September 16-21, 2012, Angra dos Reis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Paper submission deadline: April 30, 2012.

ICTAI 2012, 24th IEEE International Conference on Tools with Artificial Intelligence, October 1-3, 2012, Boca Raton, Florida, USA.

CP 2012, 18th International Conference on Principles and Practice of Constraint Programming, October 1-5, 2012, Quebec City, Canada.

Career news

Postdoctoral position at NICTA

National ICT Australia (NICTA) is Australia's ICT Research Centre of Excellence. NICTA has laboratories in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney and works in close partnership with Australia's best universities.

In Short

NICTA's Optimisation Research Group (40+ researchers) has multiple postdoctoral research positions available.


We are looking for motivated individuals with a PhD and a strong track record in the the fields of Artificial Intelligence and Operations Research. Areas of interest include:

  • constraint programming
  • mixed integer programming and mixed integer nonlinear programming
  • search, including local search
  • stochastic optimisation
  • multi-objective optimisation
  • simulation
  • planning and scheduling
  • vehicle routing
  • forecasting
  • game theory and mechanism design

Remuneration: AUD 80K-100K (= USD 85K-105K = EUR 60K-75K)
Duration: up to 3 years in the first instance

Contact: optimisation@nicta.com.au

Senior Research Fellow / Research Fellow / Research Positions (Optimisation and Automated Planning) at the University of Melbourne

3 Positions

  • Senior Research Fellow / Research Fellow in Optimisation
  • Research Fellow in automated planning
  • Research Software Engineer
In Short

The University of Melbourne is seeking outstanding Research Fellows and a Research Software Engineer to conduct leading edge research in optimisation and automated planning for mine scheduling.

The positions will be located in the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering within the Melbourne School of Engineering.


  • $98,387-$113,446 AUD p.a. (Senior Research Fellow)
  • $80,318-$95,375 (Research Fellow)
  • $56,226-$76,299 (Research Software Engineer)
plus 9% superannuation;
Employment type: Full-time Fixed Term
About the Project

The successful candidates will conduct leading-edge research and development in the area of optimisation and automated planning technology for mine scheduling. The work is part of an Australian Research Council (ARC) funded project, "Making the Pilbara Blend: Agile Mine Scheduling through Contingent Planning". It will be conducted as part of a research team of 7-8 Researchers.

The overarching responsibility of these positions will be the development of constraint solving techniques, which integrate with contingent planning techniques, for synthesising contingent plans for short term production scheduling of iron ore in multi-mine pit settings.

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, tackling some of the most important fundamental research challenges in scheduling. 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.


Intelligent Agent Laboratory (agentlab)
Constraint Programming group of NICTA

Application Procedure


  • Senior Research Fellow/Research Fellow in Optimisation: 0027452 (closing 26 October 2011)
  • Research Software Engineer Position no.: 0027454 (closing 26 October 2011)
  • Research Fellow in Automated Planning: 0027453 (closing 2 October 2011)

For more information, please contact Adrian Pearce.

Summer Internship Position at IBM Watson Research Center

A summer internship position is available for 2012 in the "AI for Optimization" group at IBM Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, New York. The internship will last for about 3 months and will be scheduled between March and October, 2012.


Candidates should be exceptional Masters or PhD students in Computer Science and related areas, and not have already received their PhD by the internship start date.

The successful candidate is expected to have strong interest and some experience in one or more of the following:

  • Developing novel technologies based on AI and OR to advance the state of the art in combinatorial optimization (e.g., Heuristic Search, Mixed Integer Programming (MIP), Linear Programming (LP))
  • Robust parallelization of search-based algorithms (e.g., using parallel Branch & Bound; information exchange) exploiting novel computing architectures such as BlueGene, multi-core end-user machines, large compute clusters, and the Cloud
  • Advancing simulation-based optimization approaches to solve real-world problems and to improve optimization methods themselves by, e.g., employing techniques from Machine Learning, Local Search, and Genetic Algorithms for automated algorithm selection and parameter tuning
  • Applications of Optimization to Analytics, Production Modeling, Sustainability, Systems, and Databases

Due to strict time constraints, interested candidates should immediately contact us with their CV as well as names and contact information of at least two references.

Ashish Sabharwal
Horst Samulowitz
Meinolf Sellmann

Faculty Position in Programming Systems at Universite catholique de Louvain

Full-time Faculty Position in Programming Systems Universite Catholique de louvain ICTEAM Institute

About the Position

Université catholique de Louvain invites applications for a full-time faculty position in Programming Systems within the Institute of Information and Communication Technologies, Electronics and Applied Mathematics (ICTEAM). This position is to be filled by September 2012.

The successful candidate will carry out research in the field of programming systems, including but not limited to programming languages, adaptive software, artificial intelligence, algorithmics, software analysis and synthesis. Still, other areas of competence will also be considered, since qualifications take precedence over specialization.

Responsibilities include research, supervision of undergraduate and graduate students, as well as PhD theses, submission and management of research grants, and undergraduate/graduate teaching within the curricula in Computer Science ( http://www.uclouvain.be/en-info.html ). Courses are taught in French and English.

ICTEAM currently hosts more than 40 professors and more than 200 researchers. These researchers carry out both basic and applied research in key fields of information and communication technologies, electronics, computer science and applied mathematics. The University is located in the new city of Louvain-la-Neuve, 25 kms southeast of Brussels, the capital of Belgium, in the heart of Europe.

Additional information about the position may be obtained from:
Professor Luc Vandendorpe
President ICTEAM
Email: luc.vandendorpe@uclouvain.be
Phone: +32(0)10 47 2312
Secretary: +32(0)10 47 2597
Web: http://www.uclouvain.be/icteam


Applications (referencing 961/EPL/INGI7/2012) should be posted on the University job's web site :