The Association for Constraint Programming aims at promoting constraint programming in every aspect of the scientific world, by encouraging its theoretical and practical developments, its teaching in academic institutions, its adoption in the industrial world, and its use in the application fields.
The ACP is a non-profit association, which uses the profit of the organized events to support future events or activities. To become a member of the ACP, submit an application for membership by selecting Join the ACP from the menu.
The ACP is led by an Executive Committee (EC), which takes all the decisions necessary to achieve the goals of the association. In particular, the ACP EC organizes an annual international conference on constraint programming, and decides the venue of the conference, as well as its program and conference chairs. The conference contains also a doctoral programme, which is intended to encourage doctoral students to work on CP and to participate to the CP conference. The ACP EC may also organize summer schools on CP. Moreover, the ACP EC promotes the birth of workgroups on various aspects of CP, such as the CPIA group, whose aim is to foster the collaboration between industry and academia about CP. The ACP EC also maintains a web site about all aspects of CP, and publishes a quarterly newsletter about CP events. Finally, issues like the rules for the financial handling of the CP conference, the relationship between the ACP and the Constraints journal, and the rules for the composition of the EC itself, are other subjects of discussion for the ACP EC.
The ACP EC consists of at least six elected members. The elected members serve for four years, and half of the committee is renewed every two years. The complete rules for the ACP and the results of the past elections can be found on this site. The ACP was formally born in March 2005. The formal statute of the ACP can be found on this site. However, before that, since 1995 the Constraint Programming Organizing Committee (CP OC) had the same role, although in an informal way, as the current ACP EC.
The CP OC has been formed in 1995, when the first CP conference was held. At that time, the CP OC was composed by a set of founders, and has been yearly updated by adding the program and conference chairs of each CP conference. As a result, in June 2003 the CP OC had the following members: A. Borning, J.Bowen, A.Brodsky, J. Cohen, A. Colmerauer, R. Dechter, E. Freuder (chair), H. Gallaire, C. Gomes, J. Jaffar, J.-P. Jouannaud, J.-L. Lassez, M. Maher, U. Montanari, A. Nerode, J.-F. Puget, F. Rossi, V. Saraswat, G. Smolka, P. Van Hentenryck, R. Watcher, T. Walsh, R. Yap.
Since 1995, when the CP community was formally born, things have greatly changed, and our community has grown enormously. To say one thing, we have passed from about 100 submissions to CP 1995 to 246 for CP 2016, and we have built a strong doctoral program that regularly attracts about 30 applications. This is the result of a greater interest from both industry and academia for CP techniques and results, and appreciation from the application fields which benefitted from CP technology.
To respond adequately to the needs of such a greater community, which wants to have more than just an annual conference, and desires to feel part of the decisions governing the whole community, in 2003 the CP OC moved to a more structured and democratically elected governing entity, which can take care of the conference and chairs, but also of other services like, to name a few, a newsletter, summer schools, a web site, and the relationship with other communities.
The first election for the CP OC were held in the summer of 2003, and a second election was held in summer 2004. At CP 2004 it was felt that a formal entity was needed to support the CP community, rather than an informal group of people like the CP OC was. Therefore, in January 2005 the CP OC decided to start an association called the ACP, and to legally do this in France. In March 2005 the ACP was legally born.
From 2004 till 2015 the ACP sent out a 3-monthly CP Newsletter, the archive of which can be found here.
The first President of the ACP was Professor Francesca Rossi (University of Padova, Italy), who served until September 31st 2007. Professor Barry O'Sullivan (University College Cork, Ireland) served as President from October 1st 2007 until December 31st 2012. Helmut Simonis (University College Cork, Ireland) served as President from January 2013 until December 2015. Professor Laurent Michel (University of Connecticut) served as President from January 2015 until December 2019. Professor Maria Garcia de la Banda (Monash University) served as President from January 2020 until December 2020, and currently serves as Past President. The current president of the ACP is Professor Chris Beck.