Constraint Programming (CP) is a paradigm derived from artificial intelligence, operational research, and algorithmics that can be used to solve combinatorial problems. CP solves problems by interleaving search (assign a value to an unassigned variable) and propagation. Constraint propagation aims at removing/filtering inconsistent values from the domains of the variables in order to reduce the search space of the problem. In this thesis, we develop filtering algorithms for two complex combinatorial optimization problems: a Capacitated Lot Sizing Problem (CLSP) and the Constrained Arborescence Problem (CAP). Each of these problems has many variants and practical applications.
The CLSP is the problem of finding an optimal production plan for single or multiple items while satisfying demands of clients and respecting resource restrictions. The CLSP finds important applications in production planning. In this thesis, we introduce a CLSP in CP. In many lot sizing and scheduling problems, in particular when the planning horizon is discrete and finite, there are stocking costs to be minimized. These costs depend on the time spent between the production of an order and its delivery. We focus on developing specialized filtering algorithms to handle the stocking cost part of a class of the CLSP. We propose the global optimization constraint StockingCost when the per- period stocking cost is the same for all orders; and its generalized version, the IDStockingCost constraint (ID stands for Item Dependent).
In this thesis, we also deal with a well-known problem in graph theory: the Minimum Weight Arborescence (MWA) problem. Consider a weighted directed graph in which we distinguish one vertex r as the root. An MWA rooted at r is a directed spanning tree rooted at r with minimum total weight. We focus on the CAP that requires one to find an arborescence that satisfies some side constraints and that has minimum weight. The CAP has many real life applications in telecommunication networks, computer networks, transportation problems, scheduling problems, etc. After sensitivity analysis of the MWA, we introduce the CAP in CP. We propose a dedicated global optimization constraint to handle any variant of the CAP in CP: the MinArborescence constraint.
All the proposed filtering algorithms are analyzed theoretically and evaluated experimentally. The different experimental evaluations of these propagators against the state-of-the-art propagators show their respective efficiencies.