Volume 5, Number 0, January 2009

Constraint Programming News

volume 5, number 0, Jan 2009

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



    Welcome to CP News, an initiative of the Association for Constraint Programming.


    We aim to provide a comprehensive summary of important news in the area of constraint programming. The newsletter is published quarterly in January, April, July, and October. Please email the relevant editor with any news, event, report or profile you want published. To subscribe, please register here.


    This is a short summary of activities within the ACP during the months October-December 2008.

    The current Executive Committee comprises:

      - Officers:
         Barry O'Sullivan (President), Jimmy H.M. Lee (Secretary), Thomas Schiex (Treasurer), PedroMeseguer (Conference Coordinator)
      - Other Members:
         Christian Bessiere, Francesca Rossi, Christian Schulte, Michael Trick

    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.

      1. The New Executive Committee

    Bylaw 5 of the ACP Bylaws (see www.a4cp.org) dictates the election procedure and rules. 2008 is a transition year. In the most recent election, the ACP sought to elect (a) three regular members to a four year term and (b) two interim members to a two year term. The top three elected candidates serve as regular members of the EC (four year term), and the next two serve as interim members (two year term).

    The five elected members of the new ACP EC are the following CPers:
      - Barry O'Sullivan, Peter Stuckey, John Hooker (four year term)
      - Roland Yap, Karen Petrie (two year term)

    Francesca Rossi leaves the ACP EC. On behalf of the CP community, the ACP-EC would like to thank Francesca for her tireless work on behalf of the community. Francesca was amongst the people who set about formally establishing a representative body for the international constraints community.

      2. ACP-EC Mailing-List and Minutes of the ACP General Assembly 2008

    The web-site and ACP-EC mailing-list will be hosted by the Cork Constraint Computation Centre. The new mailing-list for the EC is acp-ec@4c.ucc.ie.  The old mailing-list points to the new list at 4C. The web-site is currently moved to 4C. However, in the meantime if any ACP member wishes to obtain a copy of the minutes of the most recent ACP General Assembly, please contact either Barry O'Sullivan or Jimmy Lee, who would be delighted to email you a copy in the interim.

      3. Call for Bids for CP-2010 and CP-2011

    In order to promote greater integration with other communities, the ACP-EC is now planning the location for CP two years in advance.  Therefore, we are circulating a call for bids for hosting CP 2010 and CP 2011 at this time.

      4. Call for Bids for the 2009 ACP Summer School on Constraint Programming

    Members of the CP community who are interested in organizing the 2009 CP summer school should send a proposal to Jimmy Lee by February 28th, 2009, 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.

      5. Establishment of a CP Standardisation Working Group

    In the Autumn of 2008, Jacob Feldman (4C) and NarendraJussien (Ecole des Mines, Nantes) proposed to establish a Standardization Work Group inside the ACP.  This Group is intended to include representatives of different CP vendors as well as independent CP experts with a solid academic and business background.  The Standardization Work Group may concentrate on the creation of at least three CP standards:

      1)  CP API for main-stream languages (such as Java, C#, C++)
      2)  CP modeling languages
      3)  CP XML formats.

    The ACP-EC has accepted this proposal and have asked Jacob and Narendra to proceed to establish the group. Barry O'Sullivan will join the Working Group as the representative of the ACP Executive Committee. The EC would like to thank Jacob and Narendra for proposing this initiative and wish them every success, which would be of significant benefit to the CP community.  Please contact Jacob Feldman and Narendra Jussien for further details.

      6. Sponsorships

    The ACP has agreed to provide sponsorship of 2000 euros to the 1st International Conference on Algorithmic Decision Theory. This conference is run in conjunction with the COST Action IC0602 and the EURO Working Group on Preferences.

    2009 Doctoral School on Advanced Topics in Decision Theoretic Artificial Intelligence

    Details here.

    European Master Program in Computational Logic Scholarships for non-European and European students

    Details here.

    CONSTRAINTS Journal Accepted Papers

    Volume 14, Issue 1 (2009)
    A Special Issue on Quantified CSPs and QBF
    Guest Editors: EnricoGiunchiglia and Kostas Stergiou

    The contents of the issue as well as links to the authors' final versions (no subscription required) and to the final published versions (subscription required) can be found here.

    Forthcoming Papers: Links to final versions of papers accepted for publication can be found here.

    Constraint Programming Letters Journal Accepted Papers

    Constraint Programming Letters (CPL) provides an international forum for the electronic publication of high-quality scholarly articles on constraint programming. All published papers are freely available online.

    Volume 4 will be a special issue dedicated to Autonomous Search. It will be edited by YoussefHamadi, Eric Monfroy, and Frederic Saubion.


    Other Publications

    A new book on current research topics in CHR is now available:

        Constraint Handling Rules
        Current Research Topics
        Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence , Vol. 5388
        Schrijvers, Tom; Frühwirth, Thom (Eds.)
        2008, VII, 245 p., Softcover
        ISBN: 978-3-540-92242-1

    The Constraint Handling Rules (CHR) language is a declarative concurrent committed-choice constraint logic programming language consisting of guarded rules that transform multisets of relations called constraints until no more change occurs.

    The CHR language saw the light more than 15 years ago. Since then, it has become a major declarative specification and implementation language for constraint-based algorithms and applications. In recent years, five workshops on constraint handling rules have spurred the exchange of ideas within the CHR community, which has led to increased international collaboration, new theoretical results and optimized implementations.

    The aim of this volume was to attract high-quality research papers on these recent advances in Constraint Handling Rules. The 7 papers presented together with an introductory paper on CHR cover topics on search, applications, theory, and implementation of CHR.

    PhD thesis:

    Title: Computationnal Approach of Musical Orchestration
    Supervisors: Gerard Assayag (Ircam) & Emmanuel-Saint James (LIP6-CNRS, Paris-6)
    Abstract (in english) is available here.
    Thesis (in french) and defense slideshow (in english) are available here.


    ParmaPolyhedra Library 0.10

    PPL 0.10, the latest release of the Parma Polyhedra Library, is 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 0.10 --which is under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 3 (or later)-- expands the usefulness of the library by providing new features that should be of interest to people working in the research fields mentioned above.  In particular, the latest release includes support for:

    The Domain of Octagonal Shapes

    This is a subdomain of the domain of convex polyhedra providing coarse but efficient-to-compute approximations for large analysis problems.  It offers greater precision but with a slightly higher time and space cost compared to that of the domain of "bounded difference shapes"   (BDSs) already provided by the library.  As for the BDSs, the domain of octagonal shapes can be instantiated to use a wide range of different data types, including exact arithmetic rationals or integers, bounded precision floating point data types with controlled rounding and bounded integer data types with systematic yet efficient overflow detection.

    The Domains of Boxes and Intervals

    A "box" represents (geometrically speaking) a not necessarily closed, iso-oriented hyperrectangle or, if preferred, it can be viewed as the smash product of `n' not necessarily closed and possibly unbounded intervals, where `n' is the space dimension of the box.  The domain of such boxes provides computationally efficient and scalable approximations for program analysis and verification, and is parametric with respect to a domain of intervals.  A generic implementation of intervals is included in PPL 0.10, which is parametric on the type used to represent the interval boundaries (all native integer and floating point types are supported as well as unbounded integers and rational numbers provided by GMP) and on a policy that controls whether open boundaries are supported in addition to closed ones, whether intervals of integers or intervals of reals are represented, and so forth.

    A Mixed Integer Problem Solver

    The class LP_Problem has been renamed MIP_Problem and now supports the The class LP_Problem has been renamed MIP_Problem and now supports the solution of Mixed Integer (Linear) Programming problems.  Support has been added for the incremental solution of MIP problems: it is now possible to add new space dimensions or new constraints to the feasible region, as well as change the objective function, the optimization mode and some control parameters, while still exploiting some of the computational work done before these changes.

    New and Extended Language Interfaces

    New language interfaces have been added for OCaml and Java. Thus the PPL now supports language interfaces for: C++, C, Java, OCaml, Ciao Prolog, GNU Prolog, SICStus, SWI-Prolog, XSB and YAP.  Most of the domains provided by the C++ interface and almost all the public methods for these domains are also supported by all the other language interfaces.

    The release also includes improvements to the documentation, many new configuration options and a few bug fixes.

    For more information, visit the PPL web site.

    The PPL core development team:

           Roberto Bagnara 
           Patricia M. Hill
           Enea Zaffanella

    • Java Constraint Programming (JaCoP) solver is now available under Affero GNU GPL

    We are happy to announce that the Java Constraint Programming (JaCoP) solver is now available under an Open Source license, namely the Affero GNU GPL license. It is essentially a Java-based Constraint Programming solver over Finite Domains. For more details about JaCoP please visit www.jacop.eu . Feel free to download the newest version of JaCoP and experiment with it. You are welcome to register to the jacoptwiki to get support from the core developers and JaCoP users.

    The authors of JaCoP are actively seeking and implementing many interesting solver techniques from the Constraint Programming community.  The newest version of JaCoP has many features, such as pruning events, multiple constraint queues, special data structures to handle backtracking efficiently, incremental constraint processing,   and many more. We often have to adapt published techniques so they can be efficiently used in the context of Java (specially its garbage collection techniques) and the JaCoP architecture. JaCoP has a number of global constraints implemented such as among, cumulative, element, circuit, assignment, the global cardinality constraint, two different versions of diffn, the regular constraint, the stretch constraint, the sequence constraint, three different versions of alldifferent, and two different versions of the sum constraint, both negative and positive table constraints. The positive table constraint has three most recently published variants of this constraint implemented. The different versions of the constraint implement different consistency methods with different computational and space complexities. JaCoP solver consists of over 60.000 lines of code developed over the span  of eight years mostly by two people, Krzysztof Kuchcinski and RadoslawSzymanek. There is a number of Examples which can be used to learn CP and JaCoP, which contribute additional 16.000 lines of code.

    The main focus of JaCoP is ease of use, ease of maintenance, ease of extension, and, last but not least, efficiency. We believe it is a   good tool to implement new techniques and develop new research ideas, both in constraint programming and in other areas. Feel free to      contact RadoslawSzymanek, one of the core developers, if you need help in implementing your research idea. We will try our best to help you if you agree to share your work (and Copyright) with us and the community.  JaCoP has been used in teaching, research, and is being evaluated by industry.

    We hope you will benefit from our work and we will appreciate any help in further improving the solver.

    best regards,
    RadoslawSzymanek and Krzysztof Kuchcinski

    Special Issues CFPs


    • ICS 2009, INFORMS COMPUTING SOCIETY 2009 CONFERENCE, January 11-13, 2009, Charleston, South Carolina. 
    • LION 3, Learning and Intelligent Optimization Conference, 14-18 January, 2009. Trento, Italy. 
    • VMCAI 2009, The Tenth International Conference on Verification, Model Checking, and Abstract Interpretation, January 18-20, 2009, Savannah, GA, USA.
    • PEPM 2009, ACM SIGPLAN Workshop on Partial Evaluation and Program Manipulation, January 19-20, 2009, Savannah, Georgia, USA. 
    • PADL '09, Eleventh International Symposium on  Practical Aspects of Declarative Languages 2009, January 19-20, 2009, Savannah, Georgia, USA.
    • Track on Constraint Solving and Programming (part of the 24th Annual ACM Symposium on Applied Computing), March 8 - 12, 2009, WaikikiBeach, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
    • CC 2009, International Conference on Compiler Construction, March 22-29, 2009, York, United Kingdom. 
    • CI-Sched 2009, 2009 IEEE Symposium on Computational Intelligence in Scheduling, March 30 - April 2, 2009, Sheraton Music City Hotel, Nashville, TN, USA. 
    • DALT 2009 held in conjunction with AAMAS 2009, 7th International Workshop on Declarative Agent Languages and Technologies, 11 or 12 May, 2009, Budapest, Hungary.  Paper Submission Deadline: 25 January, 2009.
    • FLAIRS 2009, Special Track on AI PLANNING AND SCHEDULING, 22nd International Florida Artificial Intelligence Research Society Conference, 19th-21st May, 2009, Sanibel Island, Florida, USA. 
    • AI'09 GRADUATE STUDENT SYMPOSIUM, Twenty-second Canadian Conference on Artificial Intelligence, May 24, 2009, Kelowna, British Columbia.  Paper submission due: January 30, 2009.
    • AI'09, Twenty-second Canadian Conference on Artificial Intelligence, May 25-27, 2009, Kelowna, British Columbia.  Paper submission due: January 23rd, 2009.
    • BR-OPT (in conjunction with CP-AI-OR 2009), Workshop on Bound Reduction techniques for Constraint Programming and Mixed-Integer Nonlinear Programming, 28 May, 2009, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.  Extended abstracts submission deadline: Feb 28, 2009.
    • CP-AI-OR 2009, Sixth International Conference on Integration of Artificial Intelligence and Operations Research Techniques in Constraint Programming for Combinatorial Optimization Problems, May 27-31, 2009, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.  January 10, 2009 - Abstract due for full papers.  January 16, 2009 - Full papers due.
    • PSI 2009, Seventh International Andrei Ershov Memorial Conference PERSPECTIVES OF SYSTEM INFORMATICS, 15-19 June, 2009, Novosibirsk, Akademgorodok, Russia.  Paper submission deadline: January 23, 2009.
    • SAT 2009, 12th International Conference on Theory and Applications of Satisfiability Testing, June 30 - July 3, Swansea, Wales, UK.  Deadline for submissions: 20 FEBRUARY, 2009.
    • SARA 2009, The Eighth Symposium on Abstraction, Reformulation and Approximation, July 6-9, 2009, Lake Arrowhead, CA, USA.  Paper submission deadline: February 15, 2009. 
    • IJCAI-09, Twenty-First International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, July 11-17, 2009, Pasadena, California, USA.  Workshop paper submission: March 6, 2009 (11:59PM, PST).
    • ICLP'09 Doctoral Consortium, Fifth ICLP Doctoral Consortium, International Conference on Logic Programming, July 14-17, 2009, Pasadena, California, USA.  Paper Submission Deadline: April 10, 2009 (strict).
    • ICLP 2009 (co-located with IJCAI 2009), 25th International Conference on Logic Programming, July 14-17, 2009, Pasadena, California, USA.  Paper registration: February 27, 2009.  Submission deadline: March 3, 2009.
    • IWPSS-09, 6th International Workshop on Planning and Scheduling for Space, July 19th - 21st, 2009, Pasadena, California, USA.  Paper submission deadline: March 10, 2009. 
    • CADE-22, 22nd International Conference on Automated Deduction, August 2-7, 2009, McGillUniversity, Montreal, Canada.  Submission Deadline: 23 Feb, 2009.
    • CSR 2009, 4th INTERNATIONAL COMPUTER SCIENCE SYMPOSIUM IN RUSSIA, August 18-23, 2009, Novosibirsk, Russia.
    • SLS 2009, Workshop on Engineering Stochastic Local Search Algorithms---Designing, Implementing and Analyzing Effective Heuristics, 3-5 September, 2009. Brussels, Belgium.  Paper submission deadline: 23 March, 2009.
    • FroCoS'09, 7th International Symposium on FRONTIERS OF COMBINING SYSTEMS, September 16-18th, 2009, Trento, Italy.  Abstract submission deadline: April 26th, 2009.  Full paper submission deadline: May 3rd, 2009.
    • ICAPS 2009, 19th International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling, September 19-23, 2009, Thessaloniki, Greece.  Paper submission deadline: April 22, 2009.  Doctoral Consortium Papers due: June 26, 2009.
    • CP 2009, The 15th International Conference on Principles and Practice of Constraint Programming, September 21-24, 2009, Lisbon, Portugal.
    • RR 2009, The Third International Conference on Web Reasoning and Rule Systems, October 25-26, 2009, Chantilly, Virginia, USA.  Abstract submission: June 14, 2009.  Paper submission: June 28, 2009.

    Career news


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    Job opening at SAS for Constraint Programming Expert

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    Open positions for junior and senior research scientists


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    Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowships in Science, Engineering and Technology

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    Postdoc position Autonomous Systems MBARI, Monterey Bay, California

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    Underwater Robotics/Planning & Execution Summer Internship

    MBARI, Monterey Bay, California

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    PostDoc position in Planning under Uncertainty
    Institute for Systems and Robotics (ISR)
    Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon

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    Research Positions at Ulm University, Germany

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    Postdoc position available in Cork Ireland

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    Doctoral Student Positions in Information and Communication Technologies


    University of Trento, Italy

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    Postdoctoral position opening at NICTA Sydney, Australia

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    Embark Initiative Scholarships Ireland

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    IBM 2009 Josef Raviv Memorial Postdoctoral Fellowship

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    MSR Constraint Reasoning: post-doc opportunities