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231
The FF planning system: Fast plan generation through heuristic search
 Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research
, 2001
"... We describe and evaluate the algorithmic techniques that are used in the FF planning system. Like the HSP system, FF relies on forward state space search, using a heuristic that estimates goal distances by ignoring delete lists. Unlike HSP's heuristic, our method does not assume facts to be ind ..."
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Cited by 660 (50 self)
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We describe and evaluate the algorithmic techniques that are used in the FF planning system. Like the HSP system, FF relies on forward state space search, using a heuristic that estimates goal distances by ignoring delete lists. Unlike HSP's heuristic, our method does not assume facts to be independent. We introduce a novel search strategy that combines Hillclimbing with systematic search, and we show how other powerful heuristic information can be extracted and used to prune the search space. FF was the most successful automatic planner at the recent AIPS2000 planning competition. We review the results of the competition, give data for other benchmark domains, and investigate the reasons for the runtime performance of FF compared to HSP.
Local Search Strategies for Satisfiability Testing
 DIMACS SERIES IN DISCRETE MATHEMATICS AND THEORETICAL COMPUTER SCIENCE
, 1995
"... It has recently been shown that local search is surprisingly good at finding satisfying assignments for certain classes of CNF formulas [24]. In this paper we demonstrate that the power of local search for satisfiability testing can be further enhanced by employinga new strategy, called "mixed ..."
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Cited by 286 (25 self)
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It has recently been shown that local search is surprisingly good at finding satisfying assignments for certain classes of CNF formulas [24]. In this paper we demonstrate that the power of local search for satisfiability testing can be further enhanced by employinga new strategy, called "mixed random walk", for escaping from local minima. We present experimental results showing how this strategy allows us to handle formulas that are substantially larger than those that can be solved with basic local search. We also present a detailed comparison of our random walk strategy with simulated annealing. Our results show that mixed random walk is the superior strategy on several classes of computationally difficult problem instances. Finally, we present results demonstrating the effectiveness of local search with walk for solving circuit synthesis and diagnosis problems.
DomainIndependent Extensions to GSAT: Solving Large Structured Satisfiability Problems
 PROC. IJCAI93
, 1993
"... GSAT is a randomized local search procedure for solving propositional satisfiability problems (Selman et al. 1992). GSAT can solve hard, randomly generated problems that are an order of magnitude larger than those that can be handled by more traditional approaches such as the DavisPutnam proc ..."
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Cited by 225 (11 self)
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GSAT is a randomized local search procedure for solving propositional satisfiability problems (Selman et al. 1992). GSAT can solve hard, randomly generated problems that are an order of magnitude larger than those that can be handled by more traditional approaches such as the DavisPutnam procedure. GSAT also efficiently solves encodings of graph coloring problems, Nqueens, and Boolean induction. However, GSAT does not perform as well on handcrafted encodings of blocksworld planning problems and formulas with a high degree of asymmetry. We present three strategies that dramatically improve GSAT's performance on such formulas. These strategies, in effect, manage to uncover hidden structure in the formula under considerations, thereby significantly extending the applicability of the GSAT algorithm.
Evidence for Invariants in Local Search
 IN PROCEEDINGS OF AAAI97
, 1997
"... It is well known that the performance of a stochastic local search procedure depends upon the setting of its noise parameter, and that the optimal setting varies with the problem distribution. It is therefore desirable to develop general priniciples for tuning the procedures. We present two statisti ..."
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Cited by 189 (11 self)
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It is well known that the performance of a stochastic local search procedure depends upon the setting of its noise parameter, and that the optimal setting varies with the problem distribution. It is therefore desirable to develop general priniciples for tuning the procedures. We present two statistical measures of the local search process that allow one to quickly find the optimal noise settings. These properties are independent of the fine details of the local search strategies, and appear to be relatively independent of the structure of the problem domains. We applied these principles to the problem of evaluating new search heuristics, and discovered two promising new strategies.
Analysis Of Two Simple Heuristics On A Random Instance Of kSAT
 Journal of Algorithms
, 1996
"... We consider the performance of two algorithms, GUC and SC studied by Chao and Franco [2], [3], and Chv'atal and Reed [4], when applied to a random instance ! of a boolean formula in conjunctive normal form with n variables and bcnc clauses of size k each. For the case where k = 3, we obtain th ..."
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Cited by 137 (4 self)
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We consider the performance of two algorithms, GUC and SC studied by Chao and Franco [2], [3], and Chv'atal and Reed [4], when applied to a random instance ! of a boolean formula in conjunctive normal form with n variables and bcnc clauses of size k each. For the case where k = 3, we obtain the exact limiting probability that GUC succeeds. We also consider the situation when GUC is allowed to have limited backtracking, and we improve an existing threshold for c below which almost all ! is satisfiable. For k 4, we obtain a similar result regarding SC with limited backtracking. 1 Introduction Given a boolean formula ! in conjunctive normal form, the satisfiability problem (sat) is to determine whether there is a truth assignment that satisfies !. Since sat is NPcomplete, one is interested in efficient heuristics that perform well "on average," or with high probability. The choice of the probabilistic space is crucial for the significance of such a study. In particular, it is easy to ...
Testing Heuristics: We Have It All Wrong
 Journal of Heuristics
, 1995
"... The competitive nature of most algorithmic experimentation is a source of problems that are all too familiar to the research community. It is hard to make fair comparisons between algorithms and to assemble realistic test problems. Competitive testing tells us which algorithm is faster but not w ..."
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Cited by 126 (2 self)
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The competitive nature of most algorithmic experimentation is a source of problems that are all too familiar to the research community. It is hard to make fair comparisons between algorithms and to assemble realistic test problems. Competitive testing tells us which algorithm is faster but not why. Because it requires polished code, it consumes time and energy that could be spent doing more experiments. This paper argues that a more scientific approach of controlled experimentation, similar to that used in other empirical sciences, avoids or alleviates these problems. We have confused research and development; competitive testing is suited only for the latter. Most experimental studies of heuristic algorithms resemble track meets more than scientific endeavors. Typically an investigator has a bright idea for a new algorithm and wants to show that it works better, in some sense, than known algorithms. This requires computational tests, perhaps on a standard set of benchmark p...
The Constrainedness of Search
 In Proceedings of AAAI96
, 1999
"... We propose a definition of `constrainedness' that unifies two of the most common but informal uses of the term. These are that branching heuristics in search algorithms often try to make the most "constrained" choice, and that hard search problems tend to be "critically constrain ..."
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Cited by 119 (26 self)
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We propose a definition of `constrainedness' that unifies two of the most common but informal uses of the term. These are that branching heuristics in search algorithms often try to make the most "constrained" choice, and that hard search problems tend to be "critically constrained". Our definition of constrainedness generalizes a number of parameters used to study phase transition behaviour in a wide variety of problem domains. As well as predicting the location of phase transitions in solubility, constrainedness provides insight into why problems at phase transitions tend to be hard to solve. Such problems are on a constrainedness "knifeedge", and we must search deep into the problem before they look more or less soluble. Heuristics that try to get off this knifeedge as quickly as possible by, for example, minimizing the constrainedness are often very effective. We show that heuristics from a wide variety of problem domains can be seen as minimizing the constrainedness (or proxies ...
Directional Resolution: The DavisPutnam Procedure, Revisited
 IN PROCEEDINGS OF KR94
, 1994
"... The paper presents an algorithm called directional resolution, a variation on the original DavisPutnam algorithm, and analyzes its worstcase behavior as a function of the topological structure of propositional theories. The concepts of induced width and diversity are shown to play a key role in ..."
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Cited by 101 (21 self)
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The paper presents an algorithm called directional resolution, a variation on the original DavisPutnam algorithm, and analyzes its worstcase behavior as a function of the topological structure of propositional theories. The concepts of induced width and diversity are shown to play a key role in bounding the complexity of the procedure. The importance of our analysis lies in highlighting structurebased tractable classes of satisfiability and in providing theoretical guarantees on the time and space complexity of the algorithm. Contrary to previous assessments, we show that for many theories directional resolution could be an effective procedure. Our empirical tests confirm theoretical prediction, showing that on problems with a special structure, namely ktree embeddings (e.g. chains, (k,m)trees), directional resolution greatly outperforms one of the most effective satisfiability algorithms known to date, the popular DavisPutnam procedure. Furthermore, combining a bounded...
Generating Hard Satisfiability Problems
 Artificial Intelligence
, 1996
"... We report results from largescale experiments in satisfiability testing. As has been observed by others, testing the satisfiability of random formulas often appears surprisingly easy. Here we show that by using the right distribution of instances, and appropriate parameter values, it is possible ..."
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Cited by 100 (2 self)
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We report results from largescale experiments in satisfiability testing. As has been observed by others, testing the satisfiability of random formulas often appears surprisingly easy. Here we show that by using the right distribution of instances, and appropriate parameter values, it is possible to generate random formulas that are hard, that is, for which satisfiability testing is quite difficult. Our results provide a benchmark for the evaluation of satisfiabilitytesting procedures. In Artificial Intelligence, 81 (19996) 1729. 1 Introduction Many computational tasks of interest to AI, to the extent that they can be precisely characterized at all, can be shown to be NPhard in their most general form. However, there is fundamental disagreement, at least within the AI community, about the implications of this. It is claimed on the one hand that since the performance of algorithms designed to solve NPhard tasks degrades rapidly with small increases in input size, something ...
Typical random 3SAT formulae and the satisfiability threshold
 in Proceedings of the Eleventh ACMSIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms
, 2000
"... Abstract: We present a new structural (or syntactic) approach for estimating the satisfiability threshold of random 3SAT formulae. We show its efficiency in obtaining a jump from the previous upper bounds, lowering them to 4.506. The method combines well with other techniques, and also applies to o ..."
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Cited by 89 (2 self)
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Abstract: We present a new structural (or syntactic) approach for estimating the satisfiability threshold of random 3SAT formulae. We show its efficiency in obtaining a jump from the previous upper bounds, lowering them to 4.506. The method combines well with other techniques, and also applies to other problems, such as the 3colourability of random graphs. 1