ACP EC Election Candidates 2020

This year the ACP will again hold elections for Executive Committee members. The election is held between the 20th of July and the 1st of September, 2020. You need to be a member of the ACP by the 25th of August 2020 to be eligible to vote.

ACP members will receive an email with instructions on how to vote. If you have not received those instructions by the 22nd of July 2020 (or soon after becoming a member), check your SPAM folder. If it is not there, please contact

The following candidates are nominated for election to the ACP Executive Committee in 2020 (in alphabetical order):

  • Chris Beck
  • David Bergman
  • Tias Guns
  • Zeynep Kiziltan
  • Kuldeep S. Meel

Election statements

Chris Beck


I am a Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto. I've been involved with the CP community since 1997, have been on the program committees of CP and CPAIOR for most of the conference iterations since 2004, and was Program Chair of CP in 2017 and Program Co-chair of CPAIOR in 2006 and 2011. I was a member of the Editorial Board of the Constraints journal from 2008 to 2013 and served as Letters Editor from 2010 to 2013. I also served as Program Co-chair of the International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling (ICAPS) in 2007 and 2020 and as a member of the ICAPS Executive Council (2008-2016) including as President of ICAPS EC (2014-2016).

My main priority if elected is to push for the expansion of the CP community on a number of axes. As an active member of both the AI planning and Operations Research communities, I believe that there continues to be opportunity for the growth of CP in those areas. We should continue to take advantage of the surge of interest and resources in Machine Learning and to make the case that CP has a role to play in combination with ML technology. I also believe that as a community we need to be aware of nascent hardware developments that are already resulting in different computational models, both classical and quantum. I co-organized a workshop at CP2019 on Constraint Solving and Special Purpose Hardware. Second, the ACP EC should work to diversify the membership of the CP community. We need to open up to underrepresented researchers in terms of gender, race, and sexual orientation and identity and I believe the ACP EC should play a proactive role. A third axes of expansion should be geographic. A number of recent online versions of usually in-person conferences and workshops have seen significant increases in attendance, sometimes approaching six-fold. I believe that there is a significant opportunity for the growth of CP among international researchers that do not necessarily have the resources to regularly travel to an in-person conference. We should take advantage of the constraints placed on us by the pandemic situation to develop this broader community through creative use of online resources.

David Bergman


I am excited by the prospect of serving on the ACP Executive Committee. Since attending my first CP conference in 2011 I have been an active and enthusiastic member of the CP community, assisting with organizing various programs and conferences during my tenure as an ACP member. My past positions include Publicity Chair at CPAIOR 2015, Doctoral Program co-Chair at CP 2015, co-Chair of the 2016 ACP Summer School, Operations Research Track co-Chair at CP 2017 and CP 2018, Master Class Chair at CPAIOR 2018, and Conference Chair of CP 2019. My service to the community is complemented by my research contributions. I was honored to receive the 2014 ACP Doctoral Research Award, and I frequently publish in Constraints as well as in the major annual CP-focused conferences. I also serve on the Editorial Board for Constraints.

My focus as an ACP Executive Committee member, should I have the opportunity to serve in this capacity, will be to strengthen our industry outreach and collaboration. Within our research community, for CP and more broadly for operations research, we are well aware of the tremendous potential of the work we do, and I find our integration with industry to be a tremendous growth opportunity. As an active consultant, I am exposed to problems that are top of mind in industry, and I know that the application of CP is still in its infancy. As a concrete example, I built a training scheduling optimization algorithm for a large military force - a simple CP model brought force readiness from 60% to near 100% at a lower cost. This model resulted in significant long term impact which, had the military organization known of CP, would have been implemented years ago.

By cultivating relationships with industrial partners, we will learn about problems that can benefit from CP, as well as drive real-world prescriptive decision making that will help organizations run more effectively and strengthen our community’s research impact. One mechanism for generating interest from industry is to design a high-quality, professionally edited presentation that highlights high impact use cases of CP technology. We can either make this presentation available on the ACP website, or have this as a resource that ACP members can bring to organizations, so that others can get a flavor of what CP can do for them. I would be happy to lead this effort should I be elected to the Executive Committee.

Tias Guns


I do research at the intersection of Constraint Programming and Machine Learning, and I firmly believe in the potential of CP as an effective reasoning technique in A.I. Ever since attending the ACP summer school in St. Andrews, I've been an enthousiastic member of the community. What I believe is most valuable to CP, and hence to the ACP, is its strong and open community first and foremost, and its connection, inspiration and applications in the related fields of SAT and SMT as well as its role in the over-arching fields of Artificial Intelligence and Operations Research. If elected, I would strive to cultivate these strenghts: supporting and promoting initiatives that can grow the internal community (CP conference and the DP, summer schools, CP hackathons, competitions), and that can grow its relevance to the outside community: its role in AI and OR conferences, connections to SAT, SMT, ASP, MIP technologies and hybridisation with ML, planning and more. Growing and cultivating the community seems essential to me to ensure its importance and relevance in the long run, which I believe should not be taken for granted. Something I would like to explore in the longer run is a means to give CP a strong(er) identity, ways to introduce CP to uninitiated AI people that highlights its current strenghts and potential uses.

Zeynep Kiziltan


I have been a contributing member of the CP community since my PhD studies began 20 years ago. I am delighted to witness its growth and the evolution of the theory and practice of the CP technology. I would be honoured to serve our community and be committed to the following vision.

ADVANCEMENT CP will remain an attractive technology as long as we advance its usability and push its potential. We therefore should inspire work on automation, new challenges and application domains. The recent CP workshops on the progress towards holy grail, trustworthy AI and special-purpose hardware architectures are excellent examples of this effort. We need to ensure the continuity of such initiatives and bring back the ACP challenge that was held only once at CP 2016.

EDUCATION Our future is the next generation of CP researchers and practitioners. The current pandemic has shown that education does not always require physical presence. Alongside the successful ACP summer school and doctoral programme series, we can exploit online tools to bring together experts easily and reach a wider audience, especially those masters’ students with a potential in pursuing a PhD in CP. Events like the CP 2015 workshop on teaching CP can help devise strategies and set up a dedicated page at the ACP website for sharing best practices and teaching material.

OUTREACH A variety of research and application domains can benefit from CP and vice versa. For instance, a CP-based approach has much to offer to machine learning and data science, likewise they can support CP-based modelling and boost solver performance. We thus need to increase our visibility in the AI and related research communities. We need to regularly and actively encourage the organization of CP related workshops, tutorials, special events and tracks in their major events. This effort should be complemented with an up-to-date ACP website that reflects the impact of CP and the challenges within CP.

DIVERSITY & INCLUSION Following similar efforts in the AI community and its sub-communities, we need to offer more opportunities to women and other underrepresented minorities and help increase their participation and visibility. A dedicated special event at the CP conference can provide a platform to raise awareness and discuss potential actions. ACP can adopt a proactive policy for ensuring diversity, inclusion and accessibility in conferences, schools and other events.

Kuldeep S. Meel


I am honored to be nominated as a candidate for the Executive Committee (EC) of ACP. While I just received the notification of acceptance of the sixth paper to CP in the past seven years, I am not exactly a CP person. None of my CP papers have even used terms such as consistency, domain filtering, etc. And this is what I am most grateful for: Despite being an outsider, I feel accepted by the CP community, and I am grateful for the Honorable mention for ACP Doctoral Dissertation Award, or CP being the first conference that I served on the PC; and for CP 2013 to have accepted my first paper on ApproxMC, which has been a major part of my research over the past seven years.

I have been outsider not just from a research point of view but also geographically. In this aspect, I think the best I can contribute most to ACP EC are the views of an outsider who cares about CP. In my view, CP would benefit from having more "outsiders" in terms of both research topics and geographically.

In particular, I hope to focus on two aspects: (1) Deeper connections with the SAT community, and (2) Deeper connections with Asian academia. CP and SAT are two communities who ought to develop deeper connections as such connections would be mutually beneficial. Yet, there are very few researchers who attend both the conferences. As an ACP EC member, I would first focus on gathering opinions of the community at large. If there is interest and support from the community, I would put efforts to bridge the gap by exploring possibilities of regular joint co-location or via alternation of workshops/summer schools.

The research communities in Asia have witnessed unprecedented growth, and in my view, we need to develop deeper connections for the sustainability and growth of our community. I have been involved in SAT-SMT School in India, which has led to an (at least, anecdotally) increase in the SAT-related research activity. In this context, my goal would be to gather support from ACP and CP community for such efforts, and then pursue such opportunities in the context of CP.

Every community has its character and spirit, and overnight changes are harmful even if done with the right intentions. Therefore, my approach would be to first survey the community, achieve consensus, present these views to ACP EC, and pursue further actions as mandated by EC.