AC-3 algorithm

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The AC-3 algorithm ( from English- arc consistency algorithm, dt: arc consistency algorithm ) is an algorithm for solving constraint compliance problems ( CSPs ). It was developed in 1977 by Alan Mackworth. While previous AC algorithms were often too inefficient, successor to the AC-3 are generally much more difficult to implement, this makes the AC-3 in teaching the algorithm most widely used.

The algorithm

AC - 3 operates in the domains of variables in constraint fulfillment problems. A variable can take on any value of a specified amount of their domain, here. These assignments of the variables are constrained by clearly defined rules (constraints ). These constraints can include the assignment of other variables.

A CSP can be viewed as a directed graph, where the nodes correspond to the variables of the problem and are the edges for constraints. AC-3 examines the edges between pairs of variables (x, y). It will be removed from the domains of x and y are the values ​​that are not consistent with the constraints between x and y is consistent. The algorithm stores the edges that still need to be checked. When values ​​are removed from the domain of a variable, all edges are added (constraints ) on this variable, the amount of edges still to be tested. Since the domains of variables are finite - and in each step either an edge or a variable to be removed - the algorithm terminates guaranteed.

An example of using a simple problem: It is to be given a variable X with the domain D (x) = {0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5}. In addition, a variable Y D ( y) = {0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5} is given. The constraints are C1 = " X is even" and C2 = " X Y = 4". Since AC-3 is represented in a directed graph, there are two edges thereby due C2 between X and Y.

First the odd values ​​of the domain of X ( D ( X) = { 4 0, 2,} ) In the application of AC -3 are removed, leaving all remaining assignment possibilities for X satisfy the constraint C1. Subsequently, the edges between X and Y to be examined. Constraint C2 is satisfied only by the assignments (X = 0, Y = 4), ( X = 2, Y = 2), and (X = 4, Y = 0). AC-3 terminated with D (x) = {0, 2, 4 } and D ( Y) = {0, 2, 4}.

AC-3 in pseudocode:

Function AC3   / / Reduced domains       queue = all edges of the CSP       while (! empty ( queue) )           Removing an edge ( x, y) in queue;           if ( EntferneInkonsistenteWerte (x, y))               foreach (neighbor z of x)                   queue.ADD ( edge (z, x))   function AC3 end   EntferneInkonsistenteWerte function (x, y)   / / Returns true if the domain D (x ) is reduced       removed = false       foreach (value v1 in D ( x))           if ( v2 No D (Y ) such that (x = v1, v2 = y ) satisfies all the constraints of (x, y))               D (x). CLEAR (V1)               removed = true       return removed   function EntferneInkonsistenteWerte end The algorithm has a worst case time complexity of O ( ED3 ), worst case storage complexity is O ( e), where e is the number of edges, and d is the size of the largest domain.


  • Algorithm

Pictures of AC-3 algorithm

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