cp 2012
18th International Conference on
Principles and Practice of Constraint Programming
To be held in Québec City, Canada from 8-12th October 2012
City of Québec, Canada

Invited Talks

Optimization Challenges in Smart Grid Operations

Miguel F. Anjos
[École Polytechnique de Montréal]

A smart grid is the combination of a traditional power distribution system with two-way communication between suppliers and consumers. The effective use of this communication is expected to deliver energy savings, cost reductions, and increased reliability and security. However, smart grids introduce important challenges in the management of the power system, such as integrating renewable energy sources and incorporating demand-management approaches.

We will discuss how optimization-based techniques are being used to overcome some of these challenges and speculate on how constraint programming could also play a role.

Constraint Programming and a Usability Quest

Laurent Michel
[University of Connecticut]

In 2004, Jean-Francois Puget presented an analysis of the "simplicity of Use" of Constraint Programming from which he articulated a series of challenges to make Constraint Programming systems accessible and easier to use.

The core of the argument was a contrast between mathematical programming and constraint programming tools. Mathematical programming adopts a model and run paradigm, rely on a simple vocabulary to model problems (i.e., linear constraints), support standard formats for sharing models and benefit from extensive documentation on how to model. Constraint programming features a model and search paradigm, rich modeling languages with combinatorial objects and has a distinctive flavor of programming. While it can be construed as CP's Achilles' heel, it is also its most potent strength and is supported by modeling aids. The very existence of sophisticated parameter tuning solutions for SAT solvers and Math Programming solvers to determine ideal parameters (e.g., ParamILS) certainly cast a major shadow on the potency of the model and run mantra that is evolving into model and search for the right parameters.

Accessibility to CP technology is a legit concern and the appeal of turnkey solutions cannot be underestimated. CP tools are extremely pliable and uniquely adapted to classes of problems where all else fails. Retaining CP's flexibility while delivering model and run solutions suitable for a large number of situations is the position adopted here.

This talk explores developments and solutions to the apparent quandary. Specifically, it explores automatic search for Constraint-Based Local Search, Scheduling, and finite-domain systems, generic black-box search procedures, automatic parallelization and assisted hybridization.

Where are the Interesting Problems

Barry O'Sullivan - b.osullivan@cs.ucc.ie
[Cork Constraint Computation Centre, University College Cork, Ireland]

Constraint programming has become an important technology for solving hard combinatorial problems in a diverse range of application domains. It has its roots in artificial intelligence, mathematical programming, operations research, and programming languages. In this talk we will discuss a number of challenging application domains for constraint programming, and the technical challenges that these present to the research community.