Volume 2, Number 0, January 2006

Constraint Programming News

volume 2, number 0, Jan, 2006

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

Contents

  • news: ACP News, AAAS Fellow, CP-2005 Pictures, CONSTRAINTS Journal New Policy on Originality, ACP Summer School 2006, CP 2006, CP 2007
  • CONSTRAINTS journal accepted papers
  • other publications: book, phd theses, special issues, LMCS, TPLP Special Issue in CHR, book review, software
  • events: forthcoming conferences and workshops
  • career news: Doctoral, Postdoc, Researcher, and Intern positions
  • reports: CHR 2005 Second Workshop on Constraint Handling Rules
  • profile: ASTRA Research Group at Uppsala University, Sweden

News

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.

Association for Constraint Programming (ACP)

- Resignations in the ACP EC will be covered by additional positions in the next regular elections.

Jean Francois Puget was elected to be a member of the ACP EC in summer 2003 and in summer 2004, and his term was supposed to end in summer 2007.  However, he decided to resign from the ACP EC in September 2005.

This is the first resignation in the EC, and no written rules on how to deal with resignations are contained in the ACP bylaws. After discussion, the ACP EC decided, by majority, that resignations should be covered by additional positions in the next regular elections.

The ACP EC elections occur every year in the summer. This means that the vacant position left by the resignation of Jean Francois Puget will be covered by one additional position in the summer 2006 elections.

- Pedro Meseguer is the new secretary of the ACP EC.

- The ACP has decided to start a travel grant scheme for CP students or researchers in need to go to CP-related conference. Details about this will be posted on the www.a4cp.org web site and sent to all relevant mailing lists.

- The ACP has established a best student paper award, to be given at each CP conference to the best student paper as chosen by the program committee.

- A CP summer school will possibly be held every year, alternating introductory material with advanced topics. The next school in summer 2006 will be on an advanced topic.

- Barry O'Sullivan has been nominated the ACP conference coordinator. He will help the organizers of each CP conference in defining the budget structure and in solving the organizational problems.

- Second International Summer School of the Association for Constraint Programming

  Advanced School and International Workshop on Global Constraints

  Doryssa Bay Hotel, Samos, Greece

  Organizers: Kostas Stergiou and Toby Walsh

  June 18-23, 2006

  The Second International Summer School on Constraint Programming is an advanced school and associated workshop on global constraints. The school and workshop are aimed at PhD students, researchers, and practitioners of all levels who wish to learn about this key area in depth. Lecturers include: Philippe Baptisite, Nicolas Beldiceanu, Christian Bessiere, Mats Carlsson, Willem-Jan van Hoeve, Irit Katriel, Michela Milano, and Jean-Charles Regin. The school and workshop will take place in the Doryssa Bay hotel on the Aegean island of Samos in Greece. The hotel is next to the fishing village of Pythagorion, the birth place of the Greek philosopher Pythagoras.

- CP 2006:

  * Location: Nantes, France

  * Dates: Sept 25-29, 2006

  * Conference chairs: Frederic Benhamou and Narendra Jussien

  * Program chair: Frederic Benhamou

  * URL: http://www.sciences.univ-nantes.fr/cp06/

- CP 2007:

  * Location: Providence, RI, USA

  * Dates: fall 2007.

  * Conference chairs: Meinolf Sellmann and Laurent Michel

  * Program chair: Christian Bessiere

  * Co-located with ICAPS 2007 (International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling)

UCC Research Professor Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Professor Eugene C. Freuder, the Director of the Cork Constraint Computation Centre in the Computer Science Department of University College Cork has been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He is one of only 14 new Fellows elected this year in the Information, Computing, and Communication section of AAAS, out of a total of 376 new Fellows. AAAS is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world.  Founded in 1848, AAAS serves some 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. The 2005 AAAS Fellows were announced in the 28 October issue of the AAAS journal Science. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of one million.

Each year the AAAS Council elects members whose "efforts on behalf of the advancement of science or its applications are scientifically or socially distinguished." Professor Freuder is being honoured for "fundamental and sustained contributions to constraint-based reasoning in artificial intelligence, for service to the constraint programming community, and for the advancement of Irish computer science."

Professor Freuder was brought to Ireland from the U.S. four years ago by President Wrixon, then Vice-President Harvey, and Professor Bowen of University College Cork and a Fellow Award from Science Foundation Ireland.  After learning of the AAAS election, Professor Freuder commented: "I am very honoured to be selected as a Fellow of such a distinguished organisation as AAAS. I would like to take this occasion to acknowledge the many individuals, agencies, and companies that have supported  my work, and in particular to acknowledge the support I have received in Ireland from my colleagues at the Cork Constraint Computation Centre, and from Science Foundation Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, and the Embark Initiative."

Professor Freuder is a Fellow of the American and European artificial intelligence societies, and the recipient of Research Excellence awards from the Association for Constraint Programming and the University of New Hampshire. He was the founding Editor-in-Chief of the Constraints journal and served as the Executive Chair of the Organizing Committee for the series of Constraint Programming conferences. He holds a 7.5M euro Fellow grant from Science Foundation Ireland and is one of the strand leaders in the 20M euro Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Telecommunications Value-chain-driven Research. He has served on the Technical Advisory Boards of Ilog and Celcorp, and as the Senior Technical Advisor of Ecora.

The Cork Constraint Computation Centre (4C) develops computer software, and the underlying science, to help businesses and individuals make decisions.  Recent projects have included work on supply logistics with Cork University Hospital, on manufacturing optimisation with Bausch & Lomb in Waterford, and on value chain optimisation with Bell Labs in Dublin. Constraint satisfaction or optimisation problems are ubiquitous. A simple, familiar example: scheduling a meeting involves satisfying temporal constraints on the availability of the participants. Constraints arise in design and configuration, planning and scheduling, diagnosis and testing, and in many other contexts. Constraint programming can solve problems intelecommunications, supply chain management, internet commerce, logistics, factory planning, workforce scheduling, transportation, network management, security, electronic and mechanical design, bioinformatics, and many other fields.

CP-2005 Pictures

Pictures taken at CP-2005, Stiges, Spain, are available at http://www.iiia.csic.es/cp2005.

CONSTRAINTS Journal New Policy on Originality

The Constraints Journal has a new policy on originality.  The new policy brings Constraints in line with ACM and IEEE guidelines that address the evolving roles of conferences and journals in computer science. An excerpt is given below.

Authors may submit papers that have appeared previously in conferences or workshops. If the paper has appeared previously in an "archival" conference or workshop, the submission should, under normal circumstances, extend the previously published version. As a guideline, the extended submission should contain at least 25% new material.  Examples of new material include previously missing proofs, additional examples, more detailed explanations, additional experiments, and more detailed descriptions of the experiments. Note that new results are not required.

More details can be found under "Instructions for Authors".

Editor-in-Chief

Peter van Beek

University of Waterloo, Canada

CONSTRAINTS Journal Accepted Papers

The Constraints Journal publishes 4 times per year. The contents of the first three issues of 2006 (in progress) are listed below. Links to the authors' final versions of these papers (no subscription required) and to the final published versions (subscription required) can be found here.

Volume 11, Issue 3 (2006, In Progress)

  • Brahim Hnich, Steven D. Prestwich, Evgeny Selensky, and Barbara M. Smith.  Constraint Models for the Covering Test Problem

Volume 11, Issue 2 (2006, In Progress)

Special Issue of the 11th International Conference on Principles and Practice of Constraint Programming

Volume 11, Issue 1 (2006)

  • Sanjiang Li. On Topological Consistency and Realization.
  • Rolf Backofen and Sebastian Will. A Constraint-Based Approach to Fast and Exact Structure Prediction in Three-Dimensional Protein Models.
  • S. Armagan Tarim, Suresh Manandhar, and Toby Walsh.   Stochastic Constraint Programming: A Scenario-Based Approach.

Publications

Book

E.K.Burke and G.Kendall (eds.), Search Methodologies: Introductory Tutorials in Optimization and Decision Support Techniques, Springer 2005.

(The book is a multi-disciplinary collection of introductory level tutorials on a wide range of search methodologies.  The tutorials are aimed at final year undergraduate / first year PhD level and are written by some of the leading scientists in the world in this area.)

PhD theses

Peter Zoeteweij.  Composing Constraint Solvers, Universiteit van Amsterdam.  Supervisors: K.R. Apt and F. Arbab.

Abstract:  The central theme of this thesis is the composition of constraint solvers from basic building blocks, such as reduction operators, schedulers, and various elements of a search strategy implementation. In addition to exploring the possibilities and limitations of this approach, some more specific research topics are an analysis of arithmetic constraints on integer intervals, the implementation of several existing domain reduction techniques through nested search, and a new approach to parallel search.

Heikel Batnini.  Global Constraints and Splitting Strategies for Continuous CSPs (in french), INRIA Sophia Antipolis.  Supervisor: M. Rueher.

Abstract: We introduce in this thesis two approaches for the design of a global constraint for distance relations. The first technique is based on the introduction of redundant constraints infered from basic geometrical properties of the system. The second approach is a dedicated global filtering algorithm based on linear relaxations of the constraints. This last work led to the design of a domain splitting strategy which exploits the gaps identified by consistency techniques.

Andrei LegtchenkoApprentissage de solveurs de contraintes sur les domaines finis Finite domain constraint solver learning (in french), d'Orléans (Laboratoire d'Informatique Fondamentale d'Orléans, LIFO).  Supervisors: Arnaud Lallouet and Christel Vrain

Abstract: A solver can be represented by a search algorithm combined with the iteration of domain reduction operators. In this study we propose a general framework and several techniques for the automatic construction of  reduction operators. Our techniques are divided into two categories, according to the nature of the constraint:

* the case of a classic constraint when all its solutions are known. 

* the case of a partially defined constraints when only positive and negative examples of solutions are known.

Keywords: Solver Learning, Constraint Programming, Supervised Learning

Yat-Chiu Law, Using Constraints to Break Value Symmetries in Constraint Satisfaction Problems, PhD Dissertation, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, September, 2005.  Supervisor: Jimmy Lee

Jeff Chiu-Wo Choi, Propagation Redundancy in Finite Domain Constraint Satisfaction, PhD Dissertation, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, September, 2005.  Supervisor: Jimmy Lee

Special issue

Special Issue of Theory and Practice of Logic Programming on Implementation of Logic Programming Systems.  Guest Editors: Bart Demoen and Maria Garcia de la Banda.  Paper submission deadline: June 15, 2006

Logical Methods in Computer Science

We are writing to inform you about the progress of the open-access, online journal "Logical Methods in Computer Science," which has recently benefited from a freshly designed web site.

In the first year of its existence, the journal received 75 submissions: 21 were accepted and 22 declined (the rest are still in the editorial process). The first issue is complete, and we anticipate that will be three in all by the end of the calendar year. Our eventual aim is to publish four issues per year. We also publish Special Issues: to date, three are in progress, devoted to selected papers from LICS 2004, CAV 2005 and LICS 2005.

The average turn-around from submission to publication has been 7 months. This comprises a thorough refereeing and revision process: every submission is refereed in the  normal way by two or more referees, who apply high standards of quality.

We would encourage you to submit your best papers to Logical Methods in Computer Science, and to encourage your colleagues to do so too.  There is a flier and a leaflet containing basic information about the new journal on the homepage; we would appreciate your posting and distributing them, or otherwise publicising the journal. We would also appreciate any suggestions you may have on how we may improve the journal.

Yours Sincerely,

Dana S. Scott (editor-in-chief)

Gordon D. Plotkin and Moshe Y. Vardi (managing editors)

Jiri Adamek (executive editor)

TPLP Journal Special Issue on Constraint Handling Rules (CHR)

Vol 5(4&5) July & September 2005

SPECIAL ISSUE Constraint Handling Rules

  • Introduction to the special issue on constraint handling rules, Slim Abdennadher, Thom Fr{\"u}hwirth, Christian Holzbaur. Vol 5(4&5) pp 401-402
  • Automatic Generation of {CHR} Constraint Solvers, Slim Abdennadher and Christophe Rigotti.  Vol 5(4&5) pp 403-418
  • A CHR-based Implementation of Known Arc-Consistency, Marco Alberti, Marco Gavanelli, Evelina Lamma, Paola Mello, Michela Milano.  Vol 5(4&5) pp 419-440
  • Schedulers and redundancy for a class of constraint propagation rules, Sebastian Brand and Krzysztof R. Apt.  Vol 5(4&5) pp 441-465
  • CHR grammars, Henning Christiansen.  Vol 5(4&5) pp 467-501
  • Optimizing compilation of constraint handling rules in HAL, Christian Holzbaur, Mar\'{\i}a Garc\'{\i}a de la Banda, Peter J. Stuckey, Gregory J. Duck.  Vol 5(4&5) pp 503-531
  • FLUX: A logic programming method for reasoning agents, Michael Thielscher.  Vol 5(4&5) pp 533-565
  • Intelligent search strategies based on adaptive Constraint Handling Rules, Armin Wolf.  Vol 5(4&5) pp 567-594

Book Review

Yves Deville: Book review: Concepts, Techniques, and Models of Computer Programming by Peter Van Roy and Seif Haridi, MIT Press, 2004, hard cover: ISBN 0-262-22069-5, xxvii + 900 pages.  Vol 5(4&5) pp 595-600

Software

1.   Koalog announces the release of Koalog Constraint Solver v3.0

Koalog Constraint Solver (KCS) is a powerful Java library for Constraint Programming. It provides cutting-edge technology for solving satisfaction and optimization problems, including: scheduling, planning, routing, time-tabling, resource allocation, configuration and many others.  KCS includes a solver on boolean, integer and set domains, many global constraints such as: AllDifferent, ColoredMatrix, Cumulative, Cycle, Disjunctive, Global Cardinality Constraint (GCC), LatinSquare,  Permutation, Sort.  Interesting features of KCS also include: ANYTIME constraint solving, SHAVING of variables, local search (useful for solving huge problems when exact methods are too slow). 

Visit here for documentation, code examples, KCS release notes.

About Koalog: founded in 2002, headquartered in Paris, Koalog is a software company developing components and applications for problem solving, configuration, journey planning, leasing. 

Visit here for additional information.

2.      Artelys and Dash Optimization announce Xpress-Kalis (October 17th, 2005)

      PARIS and LONDON:

Artelys SA and Dash Optimization Ltd. today announced the release of Xpress-Kalis, the new Constraint Programming software component for the Xpress-MP Suite. Through Xpress-Kalis, the Constraint Programming functionality of the Artelys Kalis solver becomes available in the Xpress-MP Mosel environment, allowing the user to formulate and solve Constraint Programming (CP) models in the Mosel language.

Xpress-Kalis brings the following major benefits:

- high level language for working with CP models,

- use standard Mosel data handling facilities (ODBC) with CP models + ease of use (predefined search strategies) + open entry points (user search heuristics, user-defined binary constraints) for more advanced/specific uses.

Mosel and Kalis have proven track records for large applications, have the flexibility required for research, and are easy to use and to learn.

The Mosel environment lends itself as a platform for combining different solvers, in particular Xpress-Kalis with Xpress-Optimizer for the implementation of hybrid CP/MIP algorithms. Furthermore, users now have the ability to write their own solution heuristics.

You will find more information about it here or here.

3.      B-Prolog, 6.8 beta-1

I am very pleased to announce that a new version B-Prolog, 6.8 beta-1, has just been released. Only versions for Windows and Linux are available now.  Versions for Mac OsX and Solaris will be available when the version 6.8 is officially released.

This new version incorporates several major improvements:

1. It provides an interface to the GNU LP/MIP package (GLPK), through which LP/MIP problems can be described in the CLP way.  You can find the examples of the LP/MIP interface in the directory "BProlog/examples/lp".

2. A new event type "dom_any(X,E)" is provided, which captures exclusions of arbitrary elements from the domain of X. This event is useful for implementing the AC-4 algorithm for arbitrary support constraints, as demonstrated by the solver for this year's solver competition.

3. Improvements of constraint propagators for binary inequality constraints, reification constraints, and global constraints (element, all_distinct, and circuit). B-Prolog continues to provide a leading technology for constraint solving. See the latest benchmarking results.

In addition to these major improvements, there are many minor changes.  Please see here for more details.

Events

PADL'06, Eighth International Symposium on Practical Aspects of Declarative Languages 2006 (co-located with ACM POPL'06).  January 9-10, 2006, Charleston, South Carolina, USA. 

2006 Special Programme on Logic and Algorithms (6 Workshops).  16 January - 7 July 2006, Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences at Cambridge, UK. 

Special semester on Gröbner Bases and Related Methods 2006 .  February - July, 2006, Linz and Hagenberg, Austria.

WLP 2006, 20th Workshop on Logic Programming.  February 22 - 24, 2006, Vienna University of Technology, Austria. 

Constraint Solving and Programming Track of SAC 2006, The 21st Annual ACM Symposium on Applied Computing. April 23-27, 2006, Dijon, France.

DALT 2006, 4th International Workshop on Declarative Agent Languages and Technologies (held in conjunction with AAMAS 2006).  8 May 2006, Future University Hakodate, Japan.  Paper submission deadline: 15 January 2006.

CLIMA VII, Seventh International Workshop on Computational Logic in Multi-Agent Systems (held in conjunction with AAMAS 2006).  May 8,9 2006, Future University, Hakodate, Japan.  Paper submission deadline: 15 January 2006

FLAIRS 06, Track on Secure Multiparty Computations and Distributed Constraint Reasoning.  May 11-13, 2006, Holiday Inn Melbourne Beach, FL, USA.

INCOM06, 12th IFAC Symposium on Information Control Problems in Manufacturing (a Series of Special Sessions on Value-Chain Optimisation using Constraint Programming).  May 17 - 19, 2006, Saint-Etienne, France.

CP-AI-OR'06, The Third International Conference on Integration of AI and OR Techniques in Constraint Programming for Combinatorial Optimization Problems.  May 31-June 2, 2006, Cork, Ireland.  Paper submission deadline: January 9, 2006.

ICAPS-06, The 16th International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling.  June 6-10, 2006, The English Lake District, Cumbria, U.K. 

ISSAC 2006, International Symposium on Symbolic and Algebraic Computation.  July 9 - 12, 2006, Genoa, Italy.  Paper submission deadline: January 11, 2006 (Midnight [24:00EST]). 

The AAAI-06 Workshop on Learning for Search.  July 16/17, 2006, Boston, Massachusetts.  Paper submission deadline: March 31, 2006.

AAAI-06, Twenty-First National Conference on Artificial Intelligence.  July16-20, 2006, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.  Paper submission deadline: February 21, 2006.

PRICAI'06, The Ninth Pacific Rim International Conference on Artificial Intelligence.  7-11th August, 2006, Guilin, China.  Paper submission deadline: 22nd February, 2006.

IJCAR 2006, Third International Joint Conference on Automated Reasoning.  August 16-21, 2006, Seattle, USA.  Paper registration deadline: Feb 27, 2006.  Full paper submission deadline: Mar 6, 2006.

ICLP'06, 22nd International Conference on Logic Programming (Part of Fourth Federated Logic Conference, FLoC 2006).  17-20 August, 2006, Seattle, Washington, USA.  Abstracts submission deadline: 14 February, 2006.  Paper submission deadline: 21 February, 2006

ECAI 2006, 17th European Conference on Artificial Intelligence.  August 28th - September 1st 2006, RIVA DEL GARDA, Italy.  Paper submission deadline: 10 Feb 2006

SAS'06, The 13th International Static Analysis Symposium.  29-31 August 2006, Seoul, Korea.  Paper submission deadline: 7 April 2006.

PATAT 2006, the 6th International Conference on the Practice and Theory of Automated Timetabling.  August 30 - September 1, 2006, Brno, Czech Republic.  Paper submission deadline: January 27, 2006.

CP 2006, 12th International Conference on Principles and Practice of Constraint Programming, Sept 25-29, 2006, Nantes, France.

AISC-2006, AI and Symbolic Computation, September 20-22, 2006, Beijing, China.  Paper submission deadline: April 7, 2006.

CSL'06, Annual Conference of the European Association for Computer Science Logic.  September 25 -- 29, 2006, Szeged, Hungary.  Title & Abstract Submission deadline: 24 April, 2006.  Full Paper Submission deadline: 1 May, 2006

ADVIS 2006, Fourth Biennial International Conference on Advances in Information Systems, 18-20 October, 2006, Izmir, Turkey.  Paper submission deadline: April 1, 2006

CP 2007, 13th International Conference on Principles and Practice of Constraint Programming (co-located with ICAPS 2007).  Fall, 2007, Providence, RI, USA.  Conference chairs: Meinolf Sellmann and Laurent Michel.  Program chair: Christian Bessiere.

Career news

4C Postdoc opening

There is an opening for a one year postdoc at the Cork Constraint Computation Centre in the area of Distributed Constraint Satisfaction.  This position will be co-funded by and involve collaboration with Microsoft Research Cambridge. We would like the position to taken up as soon as possible.

Interested parties please contact Prof. Gene Freuder.

Further information about the Cork Constraint Computation Centre and about Microsoft Research Cambridge can be found by following the links.

DOCTORAL AND POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCH POSITIONS

Declarative Languages and Artificial Intelligence Group, Department of Computer Science, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium

The Declarative Languages and Artificial Intelligence Group at the Catholic University of Leuven invites applications for doctoral and postdoctoral research positions in the area of Constraint Handling Rules (CHR).

For the postdoctoral position, applicants should have a Ph.D. in Computer Science and for the doctoral position, a masters degree in Computer Science. In addition, both a background and interest in one or more of the following areas are required:

     - language design and implementation

     - logic-based languages

     - rule-based languages

     - program analysis

as well as good implementation skills in various programming paradigms.  The ideal candidate has experience in system building and is already familiar with the CHR language.

Both positions offer flexibility in the choice of research topics within the broad context of ongoing projects related to the development of the CHR language. Further details concerning this project and associated research may be found at here and here.

Appointment to the postdoctoral position will be for the period of one year.  Appointment to the doctoral position will be for the period of one year initially with possibility for extension to four years ending in a Ph.D.  The salary is compatible with the departmental rates for postdoctoral and doctoral research fellows, and can take experience into consideration.

Please direct inquiries and applications to:

     Professor Bart Demoen

     Department of Computer Science

     K.U.Leuven

     Celestijnenlaan 200A

     B-3001 Heverlee

     Belgium

 

     Email: bart.demoen@cs.kuleuven.be

     Phone: +32 16 327547

Applications should be received no later than January 23, 2006 and include a curriculum vitae and a list of three references. Review of applications begins as of now. Positions start as soon as possible, and on October 1, 2006 at the latest.

Microsoft Research, Cambridge is now recruiting Interns for summer 2006

Microsoft Research Cambridge was Microsoft Corporation's first research laboratory to be established outside the United States.  The Lab was opened in July 1997 with three researchers and now grown to over 80 strong.  The laboratory has four principal areas of research: computer systems and networks, programming principles and tools, machine learning and perception, socio-digital systems. The constraint team which is part of the Systems and Networking team is opening an intern position with expertise in one or several of the following fields:

  - Distributed CSPs

  - SAT

  - CP

  - Local search

Our Internships are in 12 week blocks - this is so you can really dive into a project and make a significant contribution. The summer months are the most popular time, but we'll work with you to set your start and end dates any time throughout the year.

We welcome interns world-wide and especially from European institutions.  We are looking for *graduate students on PhD programs* and prefer candidates to have had two or three year's experience of practical PhD level research.

To apply for an internship with Microsoft Research at Cambridge, please complete our online Internship Application.

For summer 2006 Internships, the deadline for complete applications is 28th February 2006, and references have to be received by this date. The admission process is quite competitive, so we encourage applications in good time before the deadline.

Please assist us in processing your application efficiently by making sure you fill out the application correctly (Please note: Applications sent directly to Researchers will not be considered). In order to complete our online application form correctly, the following pieces of information are required:

  - Advisor details including email alias. Please note: On completing this,  your advisors will be contacted automatically for a reference.

  - Your preferred start and end dates, with second choices. 

  - Your preferred lab and groups, with second choices. 

  - CV/ Resume in PDF, Word Doc or Text file.

Please be aware that if you do not complete the application fully your application will not be processed.  Should you have and questions concerning your application or regarding internships at the Cambridge Lab please email cambtern@microsoft.com.

POST-DOC POSITION IN CONSTRAINT-BASED SCHEDULING

CORK CONSTRAINT COMPUTATION CENTRE, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK, IRELAND

A 15 month post-doc position is available at the Cork Constraint Computation Centre associated with an EU funded CRAFT project. This project's aim is to develop an automated scheduling system for small and medium sized enterprises. The successful applicant will work as part of a team in Ireland along with other university and industrial partners from UK, Germany, Denmark and Czech Republic.  The ideal applicant will have a good knowledge of scheduling, its applications and some experience in industrial projects. The applicant may also have knowledge of enterprise modeling and may have already been part of EU projects or similar. Modelling and programming skills are essential.  The contract will commence in January / February 2006.

Prospective applicants should email their CV to James Little by December 8th 2005.

RISC PhD Call Letter

The Research Institute for Symbolic Computation at the Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria (RISC-Linz) accepts Ph.D. students in symbolic computation, a young and promising field in computer science and mathematics.

Requirements for Applications 2006/2007

The minimum requirement is a master's degree, preferably in mathematics or computer science. For applying, please send the following material:

  1. an application letter,

  2. a curriculum vitae and a photograph,

  3. a list of all courses that you have taken during your university studies, including the number of hours credited and the grades,

  4. a copy of your master's thesis or any other publications, if available,

  5. for non-native English speaking applicants a certificate of knowledge of the English language, preferably a TOEFL certificate,

  6. a confirmation of a university in your home country stating that you are qualified to study for a Ph.D. there,

  7. at least two written recommendations, preferably by international scientists.

Please, be aware that the first year at RISC-Linz is a test period.  After this year, starting in October 2006, the RISC-Linz faculty decides about your final acceptance as a Ph.D. student. RISC-Linz does not financially support students in their first probational year; applicants are expected to organize their own funding for this period. However, for top applicants a limited number of special Ph.D. fellowships is available.

Deadline for the application for the academic year 2006/07 is February 28, 2006. In March you will be notified about the decision.

All material should be sent to:

  Günter Landsmann

  Graduate studies coordinator, RISC-Linz, Johannes Kepler University,

  A-4040 Linz, Austria. 

Please be aware that incomplete applications might not be considered.

Important Note:

Students at Austrian universities are charged tuition fees. Since these fees depend on citizenship we refer to the information at Johannes Kepler University Linz.

You can find detailed information about the RISC Curriculum in Symbolic Computation in the brochure.

NICTA, Queensland Research Laboratory

Researcher position in the Modelling & Agents Work Package Project

The appointee will conduct high quality independent research in the field of knowledge representation and reasoning, specific focus will be on constraint based modelling and solving complex problems; logic-based frameworks for ontology; trusted multi-agent systems; etc in the context of Disaster Prediction, Response, and Recovery domains. The appointee is expected to contribute substantially to projects in collaboration with other program staff, researchers elsewhere in NICTA and outside partners.  They will be expected to take part in activities involving the transfer of research results to industry, government or end users, and to help build and maintain strong linkages with commercial partners and/or researchers in Australian universities and internationally.   

The appointee will become part of the Disaster Prediction, Response, and Recovery (DisPRR) team. DisPRR is the major research program of the NICTA Qld Laboratory and partners include the Queensland Government, University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, and Griffith University.  The DisPRR program focuses on the disaster and emergency management domain and will lead to improving the ICT technologies, devices, information systems, and services in that sector.

Interested parties should visit the online application.      

 

Reports

Second Workshop on Constraint Handling Rules held at Sitges (Spain) at the occasion of ICLP'05 October 5, 2005

Proceedings: http://www.cs.kuleuven.be/publicaties/rapporten/cw/CW421.abs.html

Reported by: Tom Schrijvers, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

The Constraint Handling Rules (CHR) language has become a major declarative specification and implementation language for constraint reasoning algorithms and applications. Algorithms are often specified using inference rules, rewrite rules, sequents, proof rules or logical axioms that can be directly written in CHR. The clean semantics of CHR facilitates non-trivial program analysis and transformation.

This workshop followed the First Workshop on Constraint Handling Rules that was organized in May 2004 in Ulm, Germany. It meant to bring together, in an informal setting, people involved in research on all matters involving CHR.

The full-day workshop programme consisted of one invited talk, eight paper presentations and a discussion. Eighteen people were officially registered for the workshop. The effective number of participants was even higher and additional workshop proceedings were sold.

We were privileged to have a distinguished invited speaker: Martin Sulzmann (National University of Singapore) talking about his successful application of CHR in the functional programming world, systematic type system design for Haskell.

From the eleven papers submitted to the workshop, the Program Committee accepted eight papers for the paper presentations. These papers addressed various topics including type systems, Java implementations of CHR, lexicographic constraints, program analysis and optimization.

New to the CHR workshop this year was the Best Paper Award. The Program Committee selected the best paper from the accepted papers, based on its outstanding quality in both presentation and scientific contribution and for its impact on the field of CHR:

    The Computational Power and Complexity of Constraint Handling Rules.

    Jon Sneyers, Tom Schrijvers, Bart Demoen

The final discussion comprised future research plans and topics: CHR as business rules, analysis, implementation, the G12 project...  Also a call for active participation was made in the CHR website and mailinglist. In particular, it was agreed to collect ideas for PhDs and other research topics on the CHR website.

We are grateful to all the participants, the authors of the submitted papers, the Program Committee members, and the referees for their time and efforts spent in the reviewing process, the ICLP 2005 organizers and the workshop chair Hai-Feng Guo.

Hope to see you all at CHR 2006 (time and location to be announced)!

Profile

ASTRA Research Group at Uppsala University, Sweden

Analysis, Synthesis, and Transformation / Reformulation

of Algorithms in constraint technology

History and Organisation

The ASTRA group is a campus-wide research group on constraint technology at Uppsala University in Sweden.  It was founded in 1998 by Pierre Flener and is led by him.  The group currently consists of two senior faculty members (Pierre Flener and Justin Pearson), one PhD student (Magnus Ågren), and several MSc students.

Locally, we have ties with The Linnaeus Centre for Bioinformatics, where some of us are Associate Members, and with the Uppsala branch of the Swedish Institute of Computer Science (SICS), led by Mats Carlsson.

Nationally, we are the founding node of SweConsNet, the Network for Sweden-based researchers and practitioners of Constraint technology.

Internationally, our group is an Affiliated Member of the ERCIM Working Group on Constraints, as well as part of the Uppsala University node of CoLogNET, the European Network of Excellence in Computational Logic.  We are the founders of the SymCon series of international workshops on symmetry in CSPs.

Research

Our research group is concerned with both the theory and the practice of constraint technology.

On the theoretical side, we study the design of solver-independent, declarative, high-level constraint modelling languages, suitable for both complete and local search.  The objective is to automate (partially) the tasks of:

 * refining suitable data-structures for high-level variables (functions, relations, sets, ...);

 * generating implied constraints that speed up the solution process (we pioneered the use of automated theorem provers);

 * detecting [1] and breaking [2] symmetries to avoid exploring redundant parts of the search space;

 * selecting or synthesising suitable search procedures.

Towards this, we have been working on our relational constraint modelling language ESRA [7] since 1998.

More recently, we have introduced set variables and (global) set constraints to constraint-based local search [3,4] in order to study their impact on solution times.

On the practical side, we have successfully applied constraint technology in hard real-world tasks:

 * air-traffic control: multi-sector air-traffic complexity reduction and balancing, with EuroControl, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation;

 * finance: design of synthetic CDO portfolios, with Merrill Lynch [6];

 * molecular biology:

   - construction of phylogenetic trees [5];

   - motif finding in DNA sequences.

Our main research grants have been from VR (the Swedish Research Council), STINT (the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education), and EuroControl (the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, in Brussels, Belgium).

Recent visitors have been Meinolf Sellmann (Brown U.), Nicolas Beldiceanu (EM Nantes), Patrick Prosser (Glasgow U.), and Yves Deville (UC Louvain).  Group members have recently visited the groups at St Andrews and Brown universities.  Our ongoing STINT grant is a collaboration with Brown University on symmetry [1,2].

Education

We teach the advanced undergraduate course "Constraint Technology for Solving Combinatorial Problems".  It is also open to graduate students, as a multi-disciplinary graduate course in the Faculty of Science and Technology.

More information on the ASTRA group can be found on the web.

Main Recent Publications

[1] P. Van Hentenryck, P. Flener, J. Pearson, and M. Ågren. Compositional derivation of symmetries for constraint satisfaction. In Proc. of SARA'05, pp. 234-247. LNAI 3607. Springer-Verlag, 2005.

[2] P. Van Hentenryck, P. Flener, J. Pearson, and M. Ågren.  Tractable symmetry breaking for CSPs with interchangeable values.  In Proc. of IJCAI'03, pp. 277-282. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 2003.

[3] M. Ågren, P. Flener, and J. Pearson.  Incremental algorithms for local search from existential second-order logic.  In Proc. of CP'05, pp. 47-61. LNCS 3709. Springer-Verlag, 2005.

[4] M. Ågren, P. Flener, and J. Pearson.  Set variables and local search.  In Proc. of CP-AI-OR'05, pp. 19-33. LNCS 3524. Springer-Verlag, 2005.

[5] N. Beldiceanu, P. Flener, and X. Lorca.  The tree constraint.  In Proc. of CP-AI-OR'05, pp. 64-78. LNCS 3524. Springer-Verlag, 2005.

[6] P. Flener, J. Pearson, and L.G. Reyna.  Financial portfolio optimisation.  In Proc. of CP'04, pp. 227-241. LNCS 3258. Springer-Verlag, 2004.

[7] P. Flener, J. Pearson, and M. Ågren.  Introducing ESRA, a relational language for modelling combinatorial problems.  In LOPSTR'03: Revised Selected Papers, pp. 214-232. LNCS 3018. Springer-Verlag, 2004.

Nike LeBron 16