Volume 7, Number 1, April 2011

Constraint Programming News

volume 7, number 1, April, 2011

Editors:
Jimmy Lee (events, career news)
Eric Monfroy (profiles, publications)
Toby Walsh (news, reports)

Contents

News

REPORT FROM THE ASSOCIATION FOR CONSTRAINT PROGRAMMING

http://www.4c.ucc.ie/a4cp/

This is a short summary of activities within the ACP during the months January-March 2011.

ACP.1. The 2011 ACP Executive Committee

The 2011 ACP Executive Committee comprises the following people, in alphabetical order (officers identified):

  • Yves Deville
  • John Hooker
  • Jimmy H.M. Lee - Secretary
  • Barry O'Sullivan - President
  • Thomas Schiex - Treasurer
  • Helmut Simonis
  • Peter Stuckey
  • Roland Yap

This year, since new members of the EC have joined (Yves Deville and Helmut Simonis), the EC had to revisit the officier positions. The EC unanimously agreed that the current officers remain in position until the next election of EC members.

ACP.1. Association for Constraint Programming LinkedIn Group

The ACP have established a LinkedIn group for the association to help promote our research and activities through this professional social network platform. On behalf of the Association for Constraint Programming, the EC would like to invite everyone interested in our field to join this group. We hope it will provide you with an ideal forum for keeping people updated about what you're doing, and help you network with both academic and industry-based colleagues. We would like to acknowledge Guido Tack for the suggestion that we should create this group.

ACP.2. ACP Summer School 2011

The ACP Summer School 2011 will be held in Turunç (Turkey) from Monday 27th June to Friday 1st July, and it is organized by Pierre Flener, Justin Pearson, and Christian Schulte. The objective of this advanced-level summer school is to study integration opportunities between CP solvers and the solvers of some other constraint-solving technologies, namely mixed integer programming (MIP), global (numerical) optimisation, Boolean satisfiability (SAT), and stochastic local search (SLS). Each speaker will focus on inference & relaxation, search, modelling, and implementation. This year's lecturers include Ian Gent, John Hooker, Michel Rueher, and Pascal Van Hentenryck.

Web: http://www.gecode.org/events/acp-summerschool-2011

ACP.3. Call for Bids for CP-2013

We are issuing the Call for Bids for CP 2013. [ Please see the attached call ]

ACP.4. Call for Nominations: for the ACP Research Excellence Award 2011.

The Executive Committee of the ACP invites nominations for the 2011 ACP award for Research Excellence in Constraint Programming, which will be presented at CP 2011 in Perugia, Italy, in September 2011. The purpose of this award is to celebrate those CP researchers who have made exceptional and very influential research contributions to CP with their work. The call for nominations is included in this edition of the CP-News. Past winners of this award can be found at:

http://www.4c.ucc.ie/a4cp/awards/research-excellence-award

ACP.5. Call for Nominations: for the ACP Doctoral Research Award 2011.

The Executive Committee of the ACP invites nominations for the 2011 ACP Doctoral Research Award, which will be presented at CP 2011 in Perugia, Italy, in September 2011. The ACP Doctoral Research Award is awarded every year to a promising young researcher working in the area of constraint programming and who defended his/her thesis between January and December of the previous two years. The call for nominations for this award is included in this edition of the CP-News. Past winners of this award can be found at:

http://www.4c.ucc.ie/a4cp/awards/doctoral-research-award

ACP.6. Sponsorships

The ACP has sponsored the 2011 ERCIM Workshop on Constraint Solving and Constraint Logic Programming to the value of €1500. Details of this event can be found at:

http://csclp2011.cs.st-andrews.ac.uk

ACP.7. CP Conference 2011

The ACP-EC looks forward to seeing you in Perugia for CP 2011 in September - http://www.dmi.unipg.it/cp2011/


CALL FOR PROPOSALS TO HOST CP-2013

We invite proposals to host the 19th International Conference on the Principles and Practice of Constraint Programming (CP-2013). Proposals are due on or before June 1st, 2011. These proposals will be evaluated by the Executive Committee of the Association for Constraint Programming and a decision made for the site shortly afterwards.

The CP conferences are the premier international conferences on constraint programming. They have been held annually since 1995. CP 2012 will be held in Quebec City (Canada), while CP 2011 will be held in Perugia (Italy). Previous CP conference have been held in St. Andrews (Scotland), Lisbon (Portugal), Sydney (AUS), Providence RI (USA), Nantes (France), Sitges (Spain), Toronto (Canada), Kinsale (Ireland), Cornell (USA), Paphos (Cyprus), Singapore, Alexandria (USA), Pisa (Italy), Schloss Hagenberg (Austria), Cambridge (USA), and Cassis (France).

Proposals should be up to two pages of plain text and should address the following numbered topics:

  1. Proposal for conference chair(s).
  2. Local CP community support.
  3. University, government and industry support, especially financial.
  4. Proposed dates, and flexibility around these dates.
  5. Co-located events that might be held alongside CP.
  6. Conference and exhibition facilities (CP typically attracts between 200 and 250 delegates).
  7. Accommodation and food services.
  8. Site accessibility, attractiveness, and desirability.
  9. Previous experience in running conferences and workshops.
  10. Provisional budget.

If available, please include URLs to any additional information (e.g. web site for the conference venue or hotel).

Guidelines for the CP conference organization, as well as the duties of the conference chair(s), can be found on the ACP web site.

Proposals should be sent to the secretary of the Association for Constraint Programming committee preferably by email to secretary@a4cp.org. In preparing a proposal, please feel free to address questions (e.g. regarding the suitability of the proposed dates) to the same address, or to any member of the ACP Executive Committee.


CALL FOR NOMINATIONS FOR THE Association for Constraint Programming AWARD FOR RESEARCH EXCELLENCE IN CONSTRAINT PROGRAMMING 2011

OVERVIEW

The Executive Committee of the ACP invites nominations for the 2011 ACP award for Research Excellence in Constraint Programming, which will be presented at CP 2011 in Perugia, Italy, in September 2011. The purpose of this award is to celebrate those CP researchers who have made exceptional and very influential research contributions to CP with their work.

The award recipient will give a plenary talk at CP 2011. The costs for his/her participation to the conference will covered by the ACP.

ELIGIBILITY

Nominations for this award are invited from members of the ACP.

NOMINATION PROCESS

A nomination package consists of a nomination form from one nominator, and reference forms from at least 2 references.

Typically, a nominator is somebody who knows the nominee very well, and locates the references, ensuring that they do their parts in time to produce a convincing nomination package. Ideally, a reference is a well known member of the CP community who has never had a very close relationship with the nominee, but who can speak with authority for him or her.

Nominations and reference forms should follow the form below and should be sent (nomination forms by the nominators, and reference forms by references) by email to secretary@a4cp.org. The textual part of this forms should be a statement of why the nominee deserves the award. The Award Committee is looking for evidence that the nominee has generated some of the most important and influential work in the field. Effective letters will therefore emphasize what the nominee has done and why it matters.

TIMEFRAME

The nomination package must arrive at the above address by June 17, 2011. We cannot accept anything received after that date. We will acknowledge receipt of nominations. The decision will be available by mid July.

AWARD COMMITTEE

Every year, an Award Commmittee will decide the award recipient among the nominees, and will include: the president and secretary of the ACP-EC, two previous award receipients, and the program chair of the CP conference where the award will be given.

Members of the award committee cannot be candidates, nor can they support a candidate by being a nominator or a reference.

Enquiries concerning nominations should be directed to the ACP EC Secretary at the address secretary@a4cp.org. More information about the ACP can be found at the ACP web site.


Nomination Form

NOMINATION FORM: ACP AWARD FOR RESEARCH EXCELLENCE IN CONSTRAINT PROGRAMMING

Please answer, as completely as possible, Questions 1 to 9 by editing this form directly, and email to secretary@a4cp.org. The email submission must be in plain text (ASCII) and the answer to Question 9 must be limited to 300 words. Regarding Question 9, it is important to show evidence that the nominee has generated some of the most important and influential work in the CP field. Effective letters will therefore emphasize what the nominee has done and why it matters.

The information on this form is confidential. Neither the candidate nor the references will be informed of the views you express.

  1. Nominator's Name and Affiliation (first, middle, last; address; telephone; fax; and email address)
  2. References (list at least 2 people who will submit the reference forms)
  3. Candidate's Name and Affiliation (first, middle, last; address; telephone; fax; email address; and webpage)
  4. Candidate's Education (highest degree received, field, institution, date)
  5. Record of Professional Experience (list of principal positions held and dates; please briefly describe primary responsibilities for each position)
  6. Professional Recognition (honors, awards, prizes)
  7. Contributions of Record (list 5-10 significant publications, patents, or other contributions)
  8. Noteworthy Public Services (boards, committees, etc)
  9. Please describe, in 300 words or less, the accomplishments of the candidate that, in your opinion, qualify him/her for the ACP award for Research Excellence in Constraint Programming.

Answers to the following questions will assist in the evaluation process:

  • Which specific accomplishments made by the candidate merit the Award?
  • Where does the candidate stand in comparison to other scientists in the field of CP?
  • What impacts have the contributions of the candidate had on other fields (AI, OR, computer science, etc.), or on society?
  • If some of the candidate's contributions involved a team effort, what specifically were the candidate's contributions?

Reference Form

REFERENCE FORM: ACP AWARD FOR RESEARCH EXCELLENCE IN CONSTRAINT PROGRAMMING

Please answer, as completely as possible, Questions 1 to 5 by editing this form directly, and email to secretary@a4cp.org.

The email submission must be in plain text (ASCII) and the answer to Question 5 must be limited to 300 words. Regarding Question 5, it is important to show evidence that the nominee has generated some of the most important and influential work in the CP field. Effective letters will, therefore, emphasize what the nominee has done and why it matters.

The information on this form is confidential. Neither the candidate nor the nominator will be informed of the views you express.

  1. Reference's Name and Affiliation (first, middle, last; address; telephone; fax; and email address)
  2. Nominator's Name
  3. Candidate's Name
  4. A reference is required to have been at "arm's length" from the candidate for the past 6 years, which here means being at a different institution from, not having supervised or been supervised by, and not having done joint work with the candidate. Please declare here any association you have ever had with the candidate.
  5. Please describe, in 300 words or less, the accomplishments of the candidate that, in your opinion, qualify him/her for the ACP award for Research Excellence in Constraint Programming.

Answers to the following questions will assist in the evaluation process:

  • Which specific accomplishments made by the candidate merit the Award?
  • Where does the candidate stand in comparison to other scientists in the field of Constraint Programming?
  • What impacts have the contributions of the candidate had on other fields (AI, OR, computer science, etc), or on society?
  • If some of the candidate's contributions involved a team effort, what specifically were the candidate's contributions?

CALL FOR NOMINATIONS FOR THE Association for Constraint Programming DOCTORAL RESEARCH AWARD 2011

OVERVIEW

The ACP Doctoral Research Award will be awarded every year to a promising young researcher working in the area of constraint programming and who defended his/her thesis between January and December of the previous two years. The award, in the form of a certificate, will be presented at the CP 2011 conference, where the winning researcher will present a talk on the topic of his/her doctoral dissertation.

ELIGIBILITY

Eligible doctoral researchers are those who defended their doctoral thesis between January 1, 2009 and December 31st 2010 in the area of constraint programming. The researcher must be a current member of the Association for Constraint Programming.

NOMINATION PROCESS

Nominations must be made by the thesis supervisor, who is responsible for ensuring that the following items are submitted to the secretary of the ACP at secretary@cp-online.org.

  1. A URL to a zip-file containing the following items:
    • A PDF version of the dissertation. No specific language for the dissertation is imposed;
    • A PDF of an extended abstract of the doctoral dissertation, 3-5 pages in length, written in English;
    • PDF versions of each of up to five papers published at international peer-reviewed conferences or journals based on the work reported in the doctoral dissertation;
    • A PDF description, and pointer to, any software or systems developed during the research;
    • A PDF version of a nomination letter from the supervisor of the research.
  2. In addition to the supervisor's nomination letter, two additional letters should be forwarded directly to the secretary of the ACP from two referees, selected by the dissertation supervisor, supporting the submission and stating their assessment of why the thesis should win the award. These letters will not be shown to the research supervisor or the candidate.
TIMEFRAME

Deadline for nominations: Monday 6th June 2011
Notification: Early August 2011

SELECTION

The selection of the winning candidate is based on the originality, impact, and quality of the research work. The evaluation will consider all contributions to the CP community, including publications, software and systems.

The work of the candidates will be reviewed by a committee of researchers selected by the ACP Executive Committee, based on the nominations received.


Journals

CONSTRAINTS Journal Accepted Papers

Tractable cases of the extended global cardinality constraint
Marko Samer and Stefan Szeider

Efficient algorithms for singleton arc consistency
Christian Bessiere, Stéphane Cardon, Romuald Debruyne and Christophe Lecoutre

Formal languages for integer programming modeling of shift scheduling problems
Marie-Claude Côté, Bernard Gendron, Claude-Guy Quimper and Louis-Martin Rousseau

Dantzig-Wolfe decomposition and branch-and-price solving in G12
Jakob Puchinger, Peter J. Stuckey, Mark G. Wallace and Sebastian Brand

A global constraint for total weighted completion time for unary resources
András Kovács and J. Christopher Beck

CONSTRAINTS Journal Forthcoming Papers

Cardinality Networks: a theoretical and empirical study
Roberto Asín, Robert Nieuwenhuis, Albert Oliveras and Enric Rodríguez-Carbonell

CP and IP approaches to cancer radiotherapy delivery optimization
Davaatseren Baatar, Natashia Boland, Sebastian Brand and Peter J. Stuckey

Markov constraints: steerable generation of Markov sequences
François Pachet and Pierre Roy

Constraint programming approach to a bilevel scheduling problem
András Kovács and Tamás Kis

Explaining the cumulative propagator
Andreas Schutt, Thibaut Feydy, Peter J. Stuckey and Mark G. Wallace

Solving Steel Mill Slab Problems with constraint-based techniques: CP, LNS, and CBLS
Pierre Schaus, Pascal Van Hentenryck, Jean-Noël Monette, Carleton Coffrin, Laurent Michel and Yves Deville

Other Publications

Books

Constraint Logic Programming via ECLiPSe

Antoni Niederlinski
2011, IX, 420 p.
ISBN 978-83-62652-08-2

The PDF of "A Quick and Gentle Guide to Constraint Logic Programming via ECLiPSe" is already freely downloadable from: http://www.anclp.pl

The book is an introductory and down-to-earth presentation of Constraint Logic Programming (CLP), an exciting software paradigm, more and more popular for solving combinatorial as well as continuous constraint satisfaction problems and constraint optimization problems. It is based on the popular, intensively supported and documented ECLiPSe platform, freely available under Cisco-style Mozilla Public License. The Author aims at teaching modeling i.e. translating verbal problem statements into Prolog or CLP programs. This has been dealt with by a series of problems of increasing complexity, translated into Prolog or CLP programs and running under ECLiPSe. The theoretical background has been minimized while stressing intuitive understanding. Presented constraint satisfaction problems deal with finding feasible/optimal states, and feasible/optimal state-space trajectories, starting with simple puzzles and proceeding to advanced ones, like graph coloring problems, scheduling problems with particular attention to job-shop problems (including the famous MT10 benchmark), and Traveling Salesman Problems. The last chapter is concerned with Continuous Constraints Satisfaction and Constraint Optimization Problems.

Contraintes globales de partitionnement de graphe par des arbres Serie "Programmation par Contraitnes", Hermes

Xavier Lorca

More information at:
http://www.lavoisier.fr/fr/livres/index.asp?texte=2746231290&select=isbn&from=Hermes

Constraint Handling Rules: Compilation, Execution, and Analysis

Thom Fruehwirth, Frank Raiser (editors), Textbook, ISBN
978-3-83-911591-6, March 2011

http://www.informatik.uni-ulm.de/pm/fileadmin/pm/home/fruehwirth/chr-thesis-book.html

An overview of the state of the art of CHR research based on a reviewed selection of recent doctoral theses. After an introduction to CHR, the book presents results from three different areas of CHR research: compilation and optimization, execution strategies, and program analysis.

The book is ideal for graduate students, lecturers, and researchers. The chapters offer in-depth treatises of the selected subjects, supported by a wealth of examples. If you are new to CHR, see http://constraint-handling-rules.org/ first.

Events

Conferences

ISCL 2011, Third International Spring School on Computational Logic, April 10-15, 2011, Bertinoro, Italy.

First International Spring School on Declarative Agent Languages and Technologies, April 10-15, 2011, Bertinoro, Italy.

CISched'2011, IEEE Symposium on Computational Intelligence in Scheduling, April 11-15, 2011, Paris, France.

CSCLP 2011, Annual ERCIM Workshop on Constraint Solving and Constraint Logic Programming, April 12-14, 2011, York, UK.

NFM 2011, Third NASA Formal Methods Symposium, April 18-20, 2011, Pasadena, California, USA.

DALT 2011, 9th International Workshop on Declarative Agent Languages and Technologies, May 2-3, 2011, Taipei, Taiwan.

VII ALIO/EURO, Workshop on Applied Combinatorial Optimization, May 4-6, 2011, Porto, Portugal.

CPAIOR 2011, Eighth International Conference on Integration of Artificial Intelligence and Operations Research Techniques in Constraint Programming, May 23-27, 2011, Berlin, Germany. Late breaking abstract submission deadline: April 4, 2011.

ISA, CPAIOR 2011 Workshop: Innovative Scheduling and other Applications using CP-AI-OR, May 24, 2011, Berlin, Germany. Paper submission deadline: April 3, 2011.

HybridNL, third workshop on Hybrid Methods for Nonlinear Combinatorial Optimization Problems, May 24, 2011, Berlin, Germany.

RTA 2011, 22nd International Conference on Rewriting Techniques and Applications, May 30-June 1, 2011, Novi Sad, Serbia.

IWPSS-11, 7th International Workshop on Planning and Scheduling for Space, June 8-10, 2011, Darmstadt, Germany.

ICAPS 2011, 21st International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling, June 11-16, 2011, Freiburg, Germany. Proposals of demonstrations and exhibits deadline: April 1, 2011.

The 3rd Workshop on Heuristics for Domain-independent Planning, June 12 or 13, 2011, Freiburg, Germany.

KEPS 2011, ICAPS 2011 Workshop on Knowledge Engineering for Planning and Scheduling, June 12 or 13, 2011, Freiburg, Germany.

The 3rd Workshop on Learning and Planning, June 12 or 13, 2011, Freiburg, Germany.

SPARK11, ICAPS Workshop on Scheduling and Planning Applications, June 12 or 13, 2011, Freiburg, Germany.

COPLAS'11, ICAPS 2011 Workshop on Constraint Satisfaction Techniques for Planning and Scheduling Problems, June 12-13, 2011, Freiburg, Germany.

The 3rd ICAPS Workshop on Verification and Validation of Planning and Scheduling Systems, June 13, 2011, Freiburg, Germany.

IPCO 2011, 15th Conference on Integer Programming and Combinatorial Optimization (IPCO XV), June 15-17, 2011, New York, USA.

CSPSAT'11, First International Workshop on the Cross-Fertilization Between CSP and SAT, June 18, 2011, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. Abstract submission deadline: April 17, 2011. Paper submission deadline: April 24, 2011.

SAT 2011, 14th International Conference on Theory and Applications of Satisfiability Testing, June 19-22, 2011, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.

MAPSP 2011, Tenth Workshop on Models and Algorithms for Planning and Scheduling Problems, June 19-24, 2011, Nymburk, Czech Republic.

MIP 2011, Mixed Integer Programming Workshop, June 20-23, 2011, Waterloo, ON, Canada.

TAP 2011, 5th International Conference on Tests and Proofs, June 30-July 1, 2011, Zuerich, Switzerland.

ICLP 2011, 27th International Conference on Logic Programming, July 6-10, 2011, Lexington, Kentucky, USA.

IFORS 2011, 19th Triennial Conference of the International Federation of Operational Research Societies, July 10-15, 2011, Melbourne, Australia.

Workshop on Evolutionary Computation Techniques for Constraint Handling, part of GECCO-2011, July 12-16, 2011, Dublin, Ireland.

SoCS-2011, Fourth installment of the The International Symposium on Combinatorial Search, July 15-16, 2011, Barcelona, Spain. Paper submission deadline: April 25, 2011.

GKR 2011, The IJCAI-11 Workshop on Graph Structures for Knowledge Representation and Reasoning, July 16, 2011, Barcelona, Spain. Paper submission deadline: April 4, 2011.

SARA 2011, Ninth Symposium on Abstraction, Reformulation, and Approximation, July 17-18, 2011, Parador de Cardona, Spain. Paper submission deadline: April 15, 2011.

RCRA 2011, 18th RCRA workshop: Experimental evaluation of algorithms for solving problems with combinatorial explosion, July 17-18, 2011, Barcelona, Spain. Abstract submission deadline: April 3, 2011. Paper submission deadline: April 6, 2011.

ICARIS 2011, 10th International Conference on Artificial Immune Systems, July 18-21, 2011, University of Cambridge, UK.

RuleML 2011@IJCAI, 5th International Symposium on Rules: Research Based, Industry Focused, July 19-21, 2011, Barcelona, Spain.

IJCAI 2011, 22nd International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, July 19-22, 2011, Barcelona, Spain.

MIC 2011, 9th Metaheuristics International Conference, July 25-28, 2011, Udine, Italy.

CADE-23, 23rd International Conference on Automated Deduction, July 31-August 5, 2011, Wroclaw, Poland.

AAAI 2011 Workshop on Generalized Planning, August 7 or 8, 2011, San Francisco, California, USA. Paper submission deadline: April 22, 2011.

AAAI 2011, Twenty-Fifth Conference on Artificial Intelligence, August 7-11, 2011, San Francisco, California, USA.

ICAOR'11, 3rd International Conference on Applied Operational Research, August 24-26, 2011, Istanbul, Turkey.

OR 2011, International Conference on Operation Research, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland. Abstract submission deadline: April 30, 2011. Paper submission deadline: June 30, 2011.

OR53, the UK OR Societys 53rd annual conference, September 6-8, 2011, Nottingham, UK. Abstract submission deadline: May 15, 2011.

CP 2011, Seventeenth International Conference on Principles and Practice of Constraint Programming, September 12-16, 2011, Perugia, Italy. Paper submission deadline: April 22, 2011. Workshop proposal submission deadline: April 1, 2011. Tutorial proposal submission deadline: May 13, 2011. Paper submission for doctoral program deadline: June 10, 2011.

ORP3 2011, Operation Research Peripatetic Postgraduate Programme, September 13-17, 2011, Cadiz, Spain.

KI 2011, 34th German Conference on Artificial Intelligence, October 4-7, 2011, Berlin, Germany. Paper submission deadline: May 1, 2011.

ICTAI 2011, 23rd IEEE International Conference on Tools with Artificial Intelligence, November 7-9, 2011, Boca Raton, Florida, USA. Paper submission deadline: June 10, 2011.

Career news

Research position at SINTEF ICT

SINTEF ICT offers a 3 year temporary research position in discrete optimization methods in maritime and road-based transportation.

SINTEF ICT is an institute within the SINTEF Group, the largest independent research organization in Scandinavia. SINTEF ICT undertakes research and development projects for industry, the public sector, and funding agencies in the area of information and communication technology. SINTEF ICT has approximately 280 employees and collaborates with a large number of industries and academic institutions in Norway and abroad. The Department of Applied Mathematics at SINTEF ICT performs research activities within modeling and simulation of petroleum reservoirs, geometric modeling, visualization, parallel and heterogeneous scientific computing, and optimization methods for complex planning and scheduling applications.

The Department of Applied Mathematics has recently been awarded a research project ("DOMinant II") in discrete optimization methods in maritime and road-based transportation. We are currently seeking an innovative postdoctoral researcher with excellent skills in mathematics, operations research, and transportation optimization.

The research fellow will be working in DOMinant II. There are three main partners within the project:

  • Department of Industrial Economics and Technology Management at NTNU
  • Molde University College
  • SINTEF ICT.

Workplace: SINTEF ICT's premises in Oslo, Norway.

The application deadline is April 1 2011. Electronic application only. For the full call text and instructions on the electronic application procedure we refer to http://www.sintef.no/Home/Working-in-SINTEF/Vacant-positions/

PhD position on weighted constraint solving in Toulouse/Montpellier, France.

A doctoral (PhD) position in the area of (weighted) constraint solving and optimization is available in the framework of a ANR (french NSF) funded project, including the LIRMM (C. Bessiere), IRIT (MC Cooper), GREYC (S. Loudni) and INRA-BIA (T. Schiex) labs. The PhD will be involved in the development of new algorithms for solving weighted constraint networks (WCSP) and other related graphical models.

Applicants should have (or in the process of getting) a Master degree in Computer Science or related discipline. Experience with software development is desirable.

More information is available at the project web site. The deadline for application is mid July, 2011 but applications will be considered as they come. Informal enquiries should be directed to Thomas Schiex ( http://www.inra.fr/mia/T/schiex ).

Internships at Microsoft Research, Cambridge UK

The Microsoft Research Constraint Reasoning Group (http://research.microsoft.com/constraint-reasoning) is proposing several internship positions. The candidates should be PhD students or post-doctoral researchers interested in:

  • Optimization, constraint satisfaction and AI search, including planning algorithms, SAT and Satisfiability Modulo Theories
  • Artificial intelligence techniques in general, and their innovative applications on the desktop, on devices and on the Web
  • Software verification and program synthesis
  • Parallel processing, high-performance computing and parallelization of existing algorithms

The goal of these internships is to conduct fundamental research driven by long term Microsoft applications. The internship programme offers a highly competitive salary, an exciting work environment and great opportunities to develop connections with other interns from the best universities worldwide! More information here: http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/jobs/intern/about_uk.aspx.

Interested applicants should register here, https://research.microsoft.com/apps/tools/jobs/intern.aspx, and may, additionally, contact us directly by e-mail.

Work location: Cambridge, United Kingdom. Duration: 12 weeks. Required availability: from April 2011 Contact: {youssefh, cwinter, lucasb} at Micro (no space) soft dot com

Assistant Position at University of Ulm, Computer Science, Constraint-Programming

DOCTORAL OR POSTDOCTORAL POSITION IN CONSTRAINT PROGRAMMING

Institute of Software Engineering and Compiler Construction, University of Ulm, Germany Starting Date October 1st, 2011

The context of the position requires a basic command of German at the time of application.

A research/teaching position is available for Ph.D. students or postdocs at the Faculty of Computer Science, University of Ulm, Department of Software Engineering and Compiler Construction in the area of Constraint Programming, in particular Constraint Handling Rules (CHR). Start at http://www.informatik.uni-ulm.de/pm/fileadmin/pm/home/fruehwirth/ for background information.

At least a master or equivalent in computer science or strongly related area is required. The initial appointment will be for two years, beginning as soon as possible, with a possible renewal for another two years.

The applicant should have knowledge and interest in one or more of the following areas:
Declarative Programming, Logic, Program Analysis, Artificial Intelligence.

Mandatory teaching responsibilities are four lecture hours per week (in German or English).

The position is funded by the state according to salary scheme E13 TV-L, which means a net income of about 1750 to 2000 Euro a month (after deduction of taxes and of mandatory health and social insurance). Flats can be rented starting at about 500 Euro a month.

Ulm is a pleasant city of 150.000 on the Danube, close to Stuttgart, Munich, the Alps, and Lake Konstanz. Every day life requires a basic command of German.

Prospective applicants should email their resume with two references, certificates, proof of German skills, and link(s) to homepage and publications if available, to Prof. Dr. Thom Fruehwirth, c/o Eva Englert (secretary) eva.englert@uni-ulm.de, by May 1st, 2011. Also use above email for questions concerning the position.

The University of Ulm aims to increase the representation of women in research and teaching and therefore expressly encourages female scientists to apply. Disabled applicants with relevant qualifications will be given priority.

Postdoc position: Synthesis of Global Constraints

The background of this position is the recent trend in constraint programming for generic constraints (such as Automaton, Regular, MDD, etc, which take a declarative specification of a new global constraint as an argument) and high-level constraint specification languages (such as suitable first-order and second-order logics, etc), so that new global constraints can readily be prototyped when needed for a particular model. Such works exist for both systematic tree search (where propagation algorithms implement constraints) and local search (where violation functions implement constraints). The objective of this postdoc project is to contribute to these endeavours, including the investigation whether the designed generic propagation algorithms and violation functions can be usefully specialised for the specified constraint.

The postdoc researcher shall be hosted by Pierre Flener and Justin Pearson at the ASTRA group of Uppsala University in Sweden (see http://www.it.uu.se/research/group/astra/).

Highly-qualified applicants who wish to propose another topic within the lines of work at ASTRA are welcome to do so: a motivation and description of two pages must then be included, but preference will be given to applications within the original topic.

The position is normally for two years, with start date normally on 1 July 2011. The position includes departmental duties of at most 20% (typically teaching).

To be hired as a postdoc, a PhD in Computer Science (or a closely related field) is required. Candidates of all nationalities may apply, and knowledge of Swedish is not required.

For more details and the application procedure (by Monday 2 May 2011), see http://www.personalavd.uu.se//785postres.html .

Une allocation de thése Microsoft Research est disponible au GREYC (Caen) pour la rentrée prochaine.

Sujet : Multi-Stage Constraint Programming.

Constraint solving is a set of techniques for solving combinatorial and optimization problems. In this thesis, we propose to study an extension called Quantified Constraint Programming (QCSP), which is an extension of constraint programming in which some of the variables are universally quantified. For example, the formula exists x in {1, 2, 3}, forall y in {3, 4}, exists z in {4, 5, 6} . x < y and x+y = z and z != 3x defines a quantified constraint program. The most intuitive way of entering the new scenario is by thinking of it as a game between two players. One player is associated to the existential quantifier, the other is related to the universal quantifier. The goal of the existential player is to satisfy each constraint, hence to satisfy the whole CSP. The goal of the universal player is to violate at least one constraint, thus overcoming the opponent's effort. The two players play against each other in turn, for a finite and fixed number of rounds. The solution of such a problem is a tree called strategy and assigns a value for each existential variable in function of its preceding universal ones. Finding a strategy is a complex problem since QCSP have been proven to be Pspace-complete. The purpose of this thesis is to leverage QCSP techniques in order to build an environment to solve efficiently multi-stage optimization problems.

The candidate should have an outstanding degree in computer science, a solid background in artificial intelligence and algorithms. A first experience in research is highly recommended. In addition, strong coding skills in C++ are required. Prior knowledge of french is not mandatory.

Applicants should submit in a zip file their CV, copy of their university degrees, a list of publications if any, a cover letter and the name of three referees by email to Arnaud Lallouet, arnaud.lallouet@unicaen.fr, http://users.info.unicaen.fr/~alalloue/. Selected candidates are expected to come for an interview in the lab or by visio-conference. Interviews will start in May and continue until a suitable candidate has been found.

Internship in Forestry Logistics and Scheduling - University of Toronto

We seek qualified candidates for the following 6-month internship in the Toronto Intelligence Decision Engineering Laboratory (tidel.mie.utoronto.ca) in the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto.

Topic: Integrated Transportation Planning, Inventory, and Loader Scheduling

The tactical forest logistics problem of supplying timber to wood mills requires the integration of inventory management (to store the right amounts of the right types of timber at wood mills and forest areas), routing (to plan the routes of trucks between wood mills and forest areas), and scheduling (to schedule the use of loaders at wood mills and forest areas to load and unload the trucks). One of major challenges of this problem lies in the need to synchronize the trucks with the loading and unloading equipment available at the forests sites and mills. Underlying the need for such integrated optimization is the inherent uncertainty in the system: both supply and demand are uncertain in quality and time; loading and unloading activities are subject to congestion at the forest site and wood mill; and travel times vary due to weather and road conditions. Integrating transportation planning, inventory, and loader scheduling therefore requires modeling and solving a complex, integrated, and stochastic problem.

We aim to integrate the approaches developed at École Polytechnique and University of Toronto to model and solve problems in a real-time environment where the uncertainty in travel time, service time and inventory level are taken into account. To achieve this goal we will pursue research on the following topics:

  • A fast re-optimization algorithm, which can be applied in a real-time environment, in order to provide assistance whenever the current plan/schedule can no longer be followed due to unforeseen events.
  • Optimization models that take into account the uncertainty which lies in the scheduling and routing aspects of the problems, such as loading and unloading service time, machines failures, congestion at the mills (e.g., due to arrivals of trucks from another company). In an environment where distances can be large, the variability of the driving time can be the same order of magnitude as the service time. It is thus important to incorporate, as much as possible, these uncertain aspects into the schedule.

The successful candidate will be working with the PIs and a current PhD student and focusing on the second point above. The candidate is expected to have detailed interaction with our industrial partner to develop a series of problem formulations with real data.

The project is part of the NSERC Strategic Network on Value Chain Optimization (http://www.reseauvco.ca/en/home/).

PIs: J. Christopher Beck, University of Toronto, Toronto
Louis-Martin Rousseau, École Polytechnique, Montreal

Location: University of Toronto

Duration: October 3, 2011 - March 30, 2012

Skills: The candidate should have a strong background in computational techniques for combinatorial optimization (mathematical programming, constraint programming, etc); strong implementation skills in C++, C, and Python; excellent verbal and written communication skills; and knowledge of stochastic optimization and/or queueing theory. Previous research publications, especially in the areas of logistics, scheduling, and forestry are an asset.

Apply to: J. Christopher Beck: jcb@mie.utoronto.ca

Deadline: Applications will be accepted until the end of May, 2011. Offers will be made in early June.

Postdoctoral Researchers, Constraint Technologies, Australia

http://www.constrainttec.com/company/career/researcher_operations_research/

Constraint Technologies (CTI), based in Melbourne Australia, is currently looking for postdoctorate or experienced researchers to work in our Research group. We have a number of projects operating in association with the CTI-Monash Centre for Optimisation in Travel, Transport and Logistics, and we would expect that the successful applicant(s) would also be collaborating with researchers at Monash University. Publication and presentation at conferences are encouraged subject to protection of trade secrets.

The ideal applicant would have:

  • A PhD or industry experience in an area related to Operations Research.
  • Good knowledge of Mathematical Programming optimization techniques.
  • Broad knowledge of other optimization techniques and heuristics.
  • Experience, aptitude or interest in solving transport related problems in the rail and airline sectors such as online schedule recovery optimization, training resource planning and schedule optimization.
  • Excellent computer programming skills.
  • Good written and oral English communication skills.

CTI offers the attractive opportunity of a permanent job working in the field of Operations Research while collaborating with a University. In a similar concept to Google's "20-percent time", we encourage researchers to spend a portion of their time working on a project that they are passionate about.

CTI welcomes applications from within and outside Australia.

For further information please contact Ian Evans. email: Ian dot Evans at constrainttec dot com

Nike Air Max 270