Cork Constraint Computation Centre, University College Cork
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Research at the Cork Constraint Computation Centre
The Cork Constraint Computation Centre has been established for the study of constraint-based reasoning and programming. Constraint satisfaction or optimisation problems are ubiquitous. A familiar example: scheduling a meeting involves satisfying temporal constraints on the availability of the participants. We seek to make constraint programming more powerful, more practical and easier to use.

The work will be centred in the field of artificial intelligence, but embedded in the broader constraint programming community. Constraint computation has seen fundamental scientific advances, e.g. in understanding the relationship between problem structure and problem complexity. Constraint technology has demonstrated its commercial value. The centre will conduct basic research in areas vital to the next generation of constraint technology.

Specifically, the Centre will seek advances in:

The process of modeling domain knowledge, tailoring heuristics, and exploring alternatives must become more automated. Specific topics include acquisition, validation, optimisation, learning, and explanation. Progress can be made here by abstracting our experience with specific applications.

Applications :
Applications will motivate and validate advances in automation. Application domains may include bioinformatics, configuration, computer and telecommunications networks, design, electronic commerce, planning and scheduling.

In the real world we are confronted with uncertainty and change, with probabilities and preferences, with failures and tradeoffs, with collaborators and competitors. New applications and new contexts, e.g. interactive internet applications, present new challenges. Constraint technology must be further enriched to cope better with these challenges.

There is always a need for more efficient solvers to cope with ever more difficult problems, and at ever diminishing time scales, e.g. for real time online processing. Our work on hybrid algorithms, filtering algorithms, symmetry breaking, global constraints, approximation and abstraction addresses this need.


ACE -- the Adaptive Constraint Engine -- learns through experience to become a better constraint programmer. ACE is a collaboration with Professor Susan Epstein of CUNY, utilizing her FORR architecture. ACE has been awarded funding from Enterprise Ireland and the U.S. National Science Foundation.
Further Information: ACE Website

We consider how machine learning might help us choose among different problem solution strategies.
Further Information: O'CASEY Website

The Constraint Acquisition and Useful Explanation (CAUSE) project studies the critical user interaction that facilitates acquisition of the problem from the user, and assists the user in understanding the solution process. The latter is particularly important when a problem is initially overconstrained, and the user needs guidance on how to relax the problem to reach an acceptable conclusion.
Further Information: CAUSE Website

The world is a dynamic and uncertain place. Problems change as their solutions are being executed, and they grow as time progresses. Often, we must generate partial solutions before the full problem is known. In the OUCH! project (Online Uncertain Constraint Handling), we are attempting to extend constraint programming to reason about such changes. We assume that we have some uncertain knowledge of what the changes might be, and we are developing online algorithms which will produce partial solutions and extend or modify them as the problem develops.
Further Information: OUCH! website

The Centre for Telecommunications Value-Chain-Driven Research (CTVR) is focused on applying a value-chain perspective to research aimed at realizing the next generation of telecommunications networks.
Further Information: CTVR Website

The objective of the project is to develop an integrated Enterprise Modelling and Performance Optimisation tool for Small and Medium Enterprises. This decision support tool will take an enterprise model and through analysis and supply chain knowledge, transform it into an optimisation model. From this, a scheduling engine will run and identify the risk/rewards of the enterprise in terms of its key performance indicators.
Further Information: EMPO website

SCEWA Project
"Supporting the Concept of Early Warning Analysis" (SCEWA) is a 5 year research project that began in January 2008. It is funded by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency under the DERP grand scheme. The ultimate goal of the SCEWA project is to: support organizations and states agencies in providing early warning services. Taking Environmental Protection Agencies as a domain of application, early warning services can be used to detect potential problems and accidents at engineering facilities such as water and waste water treatment plants, landfills and incinerators, in order to: a) protect the personnel and the infrastructure in the facilities, b) protect the environment, c) inform and guide the personnel and the public accordingly, in case of "expected" adverse effects. Given this ultimate goal, our research is focused on the development of methods and tools which are aimed at supporting the analysis, design, and development of early warning systems in engineering facilities and in critical infrastructures whose undisturbed operation is important for maintaining and improving the quality of our everyday life.
Further Information: Early Warning Systems Analysis Project

Further Information: CP-Inside website

Constraint Reasoning Extended to Enhance Decision Support (CREEDS) 4C is devoted to the study of constraint programming and constraint-based reasoning; its mission is to further the scientific aspects of the field through basic research and to promote the use of this technology in real-world applications. To meet the goal of applying constraint technology effectively, 4C is expanding its range of expertise to encompass the field of Decision Support Systems (DSS). The present ToK project, Constraint Reasoning Extended to Enhance Decision Support (CREEDS) is intended to support this transformation of the Centre. The ultimate goal of the CREEDS project is to enable 4C to become a major European centre and resource for decision support systems research. It will retain its current focus on solving hard combinatorial problems with constraint programming, but it will adjust the scope of its endeavours to address issues specifically related to DSS. We believe that constraint programming has considerable promise for tackling these decision support problems, thus advancing the field of DSS, and that it even has the potential to support new breakthroughs in this area.
Further Information: CREEDS website

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