Background

From ERCIM Working Group Constraints
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Constraints have recently emerged as a research area that combines researchers from a number of fields, including Artificial Intelligence, Programming Languages, Symbolic Computing and Computational Logic.

Constraint networks and constraint satisfaction problems have been studied in Artificial Intelligence starting from the seventies. Systematic use of constraints in programming has started in the eighties. In constraint programming the programming process consists of a generation of requirements (constraints) and solution of these requirements, by specialised constraint solvers.

Constraint programming has been successfully applied in numerous domains. Recent applications include computer graphics (to express geometric coherence in the case of scene analysis), natural language processing (construction of efficient parsers), database systems (to ensure and/or restore consistency of the data), operations research problems (like optimization problems), molecular biology (DNA sequencing), business applications (option trading), electrical engineering (to locate faults), circuit design (to compute layouts), etc.

Current research in this area deals with various foundational issues, with implementation aspects and with new applications of constraint programming. The concept of constraint solving forms the central aspect of this research.