Applying soft arc consistency to distributed constraint optimization problems

Toshihiro Matsui, Marius C. Silaghi, Katsutoshi Hirayama, Makoto Yokoo, Hiroshi Matsuo

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The Distributed Constraint Optimization Problem (DCOP) is a fundamental framework of multi-agent systems. With DCOPs a multi-agent system is represented as a set of variables and a set of constraints/cost functions. Distributed task scheduling and distributed resource allocation can be formalized as DCOPs. In this paper, we propose an efficient method that applies directed soft arc consistency to a DCOP. In particular, we focus on DCOP solvers that employ pseudo-trees. A pseudo-tree is a graph structure for a constraint network that represents a partial ordering of variables. Some pseudo-tree-based search algorithms perform optimistic searches using explicit/implicit backtracking in parallel. However, for cost functions taking a wide range of cost values, such exact algorithms require many search iterations. Therefore additional improvements are necessary to reduce the number of search iterations. A previous study used a dynamic programming-based preprocessing technique that estimates the lower bound values of costs. However, there are opportunities for further improvements of efficiency. In addition, modifications of the search algorithm are necessary to use the estimated lower bounds. The proposed method applies soft arc consistency (soft AC) enforcement to DCOP. In the proposed method, directed soft AC is performed based on a pseudo-tree in a bottom up manner. Using the directed soft AC, the global lower bound value of cost functions is passed up to the root node of the pseudo-tree. It also totally reduces values of binary cost functions. As a result, the original problem is converted to an equivalent problem. The equivalent problem is efficiently solved using common search algorithms. Therefore, no major modifications are necessary in search algorithms. The performance of the proposed method is evaluated by experimentation. The results show that it is more efficient than previous methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-422
Number of pages13
JournalTransactions of the Japanese Society for Artificial Intelligence
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Artificial Intelligence


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