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Constraint Processing by Rina Dechter

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chapter 1

Introduction

The work under our labour grows luxurious by restraint.

John Milton, Paradise Lost

We regularly encounter constraint in our day-to-day lives—for instance, a finite amount of memory in our PCs, seats in the car, hours in the day, money in the bank. And we regularly engage in solving constraint satisfaction problems: how to live well but within our means, how to eat healthy but still enjoy food. Most of the time, we don’t require sophisticated computer-processed algorithms to figure out whether to splurge on a ski vacation or eat the triple-layer chocolate cake. But consider the complexity encountered when the number of constraints to be satisfied, and variables involved, begins to grow. For example, we find it takes ...

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