Schrijvers, Tom × Tack, Guido Wuille, Pieter Samulowitz, Horst Stuckey, Peter J #
Constraints vol:18 issue:2 pages:269-305
The ability to model search in a constraint solver can be an essential asset
for solving combinatorial problems. However, existing infrastructure for
defining search heuristics is often inadequate. Either modeling capabilities
are extremely limited or users are faced with a general-purpose programming
language whose features are not tailored towards writing search heuristics.
As a result, major improvements in performance may remain unexplored.
This article introduces search combinators, a lightweight and solver-independent
method that bridges the gap between a conceptually simple modeling language for search
(high-level, functional and naturally compositional) and
an efficient implementation (low-level, imperative and highly non-modular).
By allowing the user to define application-tailored search strategies from a small
set of primitives, search combinators effectively provide a rich
domain-specific language (DSL) for modeling search to the user.
Remarkably, this DSL comes at a low implementation cost to the developer of a constraint solver.
The article discusses two modular implementation approaches and shows, by
empirical evaluation, that search combinators can be implemented without
overhead compared to a native, direct implementation in a constraint solver.