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The Tractability of CSP Classes Defined by Forbidden Patterns

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Executive Summary

The Constraint Satisfaction Problem (CSP) is a general problem central to computer science and artificial intelligence. Although the CSP is NP-hard in general, considerable effort has been spent on identifying tractable subclasses. The main two approaches consider structural properties (restrictions on the hypergraph of constraint scopes) and relational properties (restrictions on the language of constraint relations). Recently, some authors have considered hybrid properties that restrict the constraint hypergraph and the relations simultaneously. The authors' key contribution is the novel concept of a CSP pattern and classes of problems defined by forbidden patterns (which can be viewed as forbidding generic sub-problems). They describe the theoretical framework which can be used to reason about classes of problems defined by forbidden patterns.

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