A Meta-heuristic for Subset Problems

  • Pierre Flener
  • Brahim Hnich
  • Zeynep Kiziltan
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 1990)


In constraint solvers, variable and value ordering heuristics are used to finetune the performance of the underlying search and propagation algorithms. However, few guidelines have been proposed for when to choose what heuristic among the wealth of existing ones. Empirical studies have established that this would be very hard, as none of these heuristics outperforms all the other ones on all instances of all problems (for an otherwise fixed solver). The best heuristic varies not only between problems, but even between different instances of the same problem. Taking heed of the popular dictum “If you can’t beat them, join them!” we devise a practical meta-heuristic that automatically chooses, at run-time, the “best” available heuristic for the instance at hand. It is applicable to an entire class of NP-complete subset problems.


Problem Class Lookup Table Constraint Program Constraint Satisfaction Problem Boolean Variable 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pierre Flener
    • 1
  • Brahim Hnich
    • 1
  • Zeynep Kiziltan
    • 1
  1. 1.Computer Science Division, Department of Information ScienceUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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