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Ants can solve constraint satisfaction problems

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1 Author(s)
C. Solnon ; LISI, Univ. of Lyon 1, Villeurbanne, France

We describe a novel incomplete approach for solving constraint satisfaction problems (CSPs) based on the ant colony optimization (ACO) metaheuristic. The idea is to use artificial ants to keep track of promising areas of the search space by laying trails of pheromone. This pheromone information is used to guide the search, as a heuristic for choosing values to be assigned to variables. We first describe the basic ACO algorithm for solving CSPs and we show how it can be improved by combining it with local search techniques. Then, we introduce a preprocessing step, the goal of which is to favor a larger exploration of the search space at a lower cost, and we show that it allows ants to find better solutions faster. Finally, we evaluate our approach on random binary problems

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation  (Volume:6 ,  Issue: 4 )