Volume 4, Number 0, January 2008

Constraint Programming News

volume 4, number 0, Jan 2008

            <h4>Editors: <br />
              <a target="_blank" href="http://www.cse.cuhk.edu.hk/~jlee/">Jimmy Lee</a> (events, career news) <br />
              <a target="_blank" href="http://www.sciences.univ-nantes.fr/info/perso/permanents/monfroy/">Eric Monfroy</a> (profiles, publications) <br />
              <a target="_blank" href="http://4c.ucc.ie/~tw/">Toby Walsh</a> (news, reports)</h4>
          </center>

  <h2>Contents</h2>
  <ul>
    <li><a href="#news">news</a>: ACP activities, LNCS listed in ISI Proceedings,          4C wins awards, call for proposals for CP-09, ICAPS-10.</li>
    <li><a href="#publications">publications</a>: Constraint journal, PhD theses, books, ...</li>
    <li><a href="#events">events</a>: forthcoming conferences and workshops</li>
    <li><a href="#career">career news</a>:PhD and Masters awards, PostDocs, Faculty positions</li>
  </ul>
  <h2><a name="news" id="news">News</a></h2>
  <h3 align="justify">Association of Constraint Programming (ACP): October 1st-December 30th, 2007</h3>
  <p align="justify"> Dear ACP Members, </p>
  <p align="justify"> On behalf of the Executive Committee of the Association for Constraint  Programming I would like to wish you the very best for 2008. </p>
  <p align="justify"> I will give a summary of the activities of the ACP-EC from October to  December 2007, and give you some idea of the plans we have for 2008.  We would welcome input from the community as much as possible, particularly  with respect to planning for the future. </p>
  <p align="justify"> We would invite you to send your constructive feedback, comments and  suggestions to the ACP-EC, for example by sending me or the Secretary,  Jimmy Lee, an email. Your input is invaluable to help us serve the  community. </p>
  <p align="justify"> Best wishes, </p>
  <p align="justify"> Barry O'Sullivan,   President, Association for Constraint Programming  (sent on behalf of the ACP Executive Committee). </p>
  <h4 align="justify">Summary of Activities of ACP-EC for Oct-Dec 2008 </h4>
  <h4 align="justify">Appointment of the Officers of the EC</h4>
  <div align="justify">The first item of business was for the EC to appoint from amongst its  members the officers for the current year. The current list of officers is:
  </div>
  <p align="justify"> Officers (with terms): <br />
    President: Barry O'Sullivan (Elected 2005-2008, President until the end of 2008) <br />
    Secretary: Jimmy H.M. Lee (Elected 2006-2009, Secretary until end of 2008) <br />
    Treasurer: Thomas Schiex (Elected 2007-2010, Treasurer until end of 2008) <br />
    Conference Coordinator: Pedro Meseguer (Elected 2007-2010, Conference coordinator until end of 2008) <br />
  </p>
  <p align="justify"> Other members (with terms): <br />
    Christian Bessiere (Non-Elected Member 2007-2009, Program Chair of CP2007) <br />
    Francesca Rossi (Elected 2005-2008) <br />
    Christian Schulte (Elected 2006-2009) <br />
    Michael Trick (Elected 2006-2009) </p>
  <h4 align="justify">ACP Bank Account Transfer</h4>
  <div align="justify">The change of Treasurer necessitated that the bank account of the ACP  be moved to Toulouse, where our current Treasurer is located.
  </div>
  <h4 align="justify">Implementation of the new bylaws </h4>
  <div align="justify">We are currently implementing some infrastructure to facilitate the  new bylaws of the ACP, which were adopted by the community at the General  Assembly at CP 2007. Jimmy Lee, as Secretary to the EC, has been gathering  together a complete record of the membership of the ACP. This specifically  contains the name, affiliation, email address, and CP conferences over the  last 5 years attended by each member. We plan to give access to each member  to his/her details through a web-site through a username/password system  so each member can update these details, as appropriate. 
  </div>
  <h4 align="justify">ACP Summer School</h4>
  <div align="justify">This year's ACP Summer School will be held in St. Andrews, Scotland,  in June 2008. The topic of this year's school will be &quot;Modelling  with Constraints: Theory and Practice&quot;.  As well as lecture series from  world-class researchers, participants will use the Minion constraint solver  and the Essence modelling language in practical modelling exercises.  St Andrews University computers will be supplied for this. The Summer  School is being organised by Ian Gent, Karen Petrie and Angela Miguel.  Over the coming weeks they will make a web-site and more details available  on the summer school. </div>
  <h4 align="justify">Proposal for a European Science Foundation Network on Constraints</h4>
  <div align="justify">A proposal for a European Science Foundation network on constraint  programming was submitted at the end of October. If accepted, this will  provide funding to the community to travel, run events, raise the profile  of CP at a European level. While ESF is a European agency, it encourages  global collaboration. Therefore, the network can involve members of the  community working outside of Europe. This ESF programme is often over-subscribed,  so the EC will be alert to other opportunities to generate funding to support  interaction within the community.
  </div>
  <p align="justify"> Some specific details of the proposal: the Principal Applicant of the  proposal was Barry O'Sullivan. Many others provided useful input or offered  assistance: Pedro Barahona, Nicolas Beldicenau, Christian Bessiere, Stefano  Bistarelli, Francois Fages, Eugene Freuder, Alan Frisch, Pedro Meseguer,  Michela Milano, Yehuda Naveh, Francesca Rossi and Christian Schulte. If the  proposal is accepted it will be administered through the Cork Constraint  Computation Centre. The duration would be for 5 years. The funding would  cover meetings/workshops, short-term research visits, a student fellowship  programme, promotion and publicity. The total amount requested is 580,000 euro. </p>
  <h4 align="justify">Sponsorships</h4>
  <div align="justify">The funds available to the ACP are mostly used for sponsoring events.  As well as supporting our flag-ship conference CP 2009 and the summer  school, we have agreed to sponsor CP-AI-OR 2008.
  </div>
  <h4 align="justify">Call for Bids for CP 2009</h4>
  <div align="justify">The call for bids for CP 2009 has been circulated. The deadline for bids is  the end of February.
  </div>
  <h4 align="justify">Planned Activities for 2008</h4>
  <div align="justify">To give members an idea of what they can expect in 2008, I list here some  activities that we have planned for 2008:
    <ul>
      <li> The ACP-EC will offer an a best dissertation award. The call for this  will be issued in the first quarter of 2008. The award ceremony for the  2008 Award will be made at CP 2008. A number of other awards are being  considered, but no final decision has been made on these yet. </li>
      <li> The call for nominations for the ACP Research Excellence Award will be  circulated soon. </li>
      <li> The ACP-EC will investigate opportunities to submit proposals  to other funding agencies for networking/collaboration supports  to develop integration.   LNCS now listed on the ISI Proceedings index. </li>
    </ul>
  </div>
  <h4 align="justify">CP proceedings and LNCS</h4>
  <div align="justify">Dear ACP Members,
  </div>
  <p align="justify"> Last year it seems that the LNCS series was moved from the ISI SCI index  to the ISI Proceedings index. An email from Springer, which can be found <a href="http://www.mii.lt/index.php?siteaction=news_notices.view&amp;id=791&amp;lang=lt" target="_blank" onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)">here</a> gives some details. </p>
  <p align="justify"> This is relevant to the CP community since many of our conference publications  appear in the LNCS series. However, it should be noted that LNCS volumes  are not treated differently to any other proceedings at this point. </p>
  <p align="justify"> Best wishes, </p>
  <p align="justify">Barry O'Sullivan,   President of the Association of Constraint Programming  (sent on behalf of the ACP Executive Committee) </p>
  <p align="justify"> From: Kramer, Anna, Springer DE [mailto:<a href="mailto:Anna.Kramer@springer.com" target="_blank" onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)">Anna.Kramer@springer.com</a>]<br />
    Sent: Monday, April 16, 2007 1:19 PM<br />
    Subject: LNCS and ISI<br />
  </p>
  <p align="justify"> LNCS is no longer indexed in ISI's SCI. Instead, it is included in the   ISI Proceedings list, which, together with their Web of Science, consitutes   their Web of Knowledge, and which they consider to be their representative  and comprehensive index for conference papers (whereas SCI(E) is thought of   as the index focusing on journal papers). We hope that systematic indexing   of LNCS's content in ISI Proceedings constitutes partial compensation of the   loss of SCI(E). Furthermore, LNCS is listed in various other indexing and   abstracting services such as DBLP, ZBlMath/CompuServe, core EI Compendex   database, IO-Port, ACM Portal, Scopus, INSPEC, etc. </p>
  <p align="justify"> Although LNCS is now listed in ISI Proceedings, the series does constitute   a lot more than &quot;just&quot; a proceedings series. For one thing, the papers   presented at the conferences need to have passed through a stringent   selection process, for another thing, we have an Editorial Board, the members   of which are also involved in the selection process (of the conferences to be  published in LNCS), and, in addition, many of our publications have a   ournal-like quality, such as the coloured-cover sub-series (consisting of   Festschrifts, State-of-the-Art Surveys, Tutorials, Hot Topics, and   Dissertations) and the transactions sub-series. These contain lengthy and   detailed papers, often by invited researchers. A small number of excellent   monographs are also included. </p>
  <p align="justify"> We are aware that this is of no help whatsoever if Universities/funding   institutions take inclusion in the SCI as the main criterion for academic   promotion or research funding. Please note, however, that Springer has had   no influence over this decision. </p>
  <p align="justify"> Anna Kramer, Springer, Computer Science Editorial. </p>
  <h4>4C Wins Two Awards</h4>
  <div align="justify">On November 1st, 4C ([1]<a href="http://www.4c.ucc.ie">www.4c.ucc.ie</a>), together with the Irish company    TreeMetrics ([2] <a href="http://www.treemetrics.com" target="_blank" onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)">www.treemetrics.com</a>) won the <a href="mailto:it@cork">it@cork</a> Leaders Award in    the R&amp;D Project category. This project is led on the 4C end by a Science    Foundation Ireland funded staff member, Dr. James Little, and also has    support from an Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership, TRIO: Timber    Recovery using enhanced Information and Optimisation. TreeMetrics and 4C    are working together to develop a new set of forest planning tools based    on the combination of several Artificial Intelligence and Optimisation    technologies.  Treemetrics delivers accurate scanning information of    trees in a forest. 4C uses this as the input for a set of decision    support tools to predict the shape of the whole tree, how to cut it,    where to send the resulting logs, and when in the year this should be    done.  4C's technology has increased the value of the information;    turning it into key knowledge with which to make better decisions within    forest management.  Although Ireland is small in forestry terms globally,    TreeMetrics software, developed in conjunction with 4C, gives it an    opportunity to sell into the major forestry markets around the world. </div>
  <p align="justify"> On November 9th, Alan Holland won the Irish Software Association Student    Medal 2007, given to the post graduate student who has &quot;developed the    most innovative and commercially viable software project&quot;.  Alan,    supervised for his Ph.D. by Dr.  Barry O'Sullivan, received some of his    student support from Enterprise Ireland and some from Science Foundation    Ireland.  He is now working with Dr. O'Sullivan on an Enterprise Ireland    Commercialisation Fund Technology Development Grant, RECAP, Robust &amp;    Expressive Combinatorial Auctions for Procurement. Part of this effort    involves a project that was also shortlisted for the <a href="mailto:it@cork">it@cork</a> R&amp;D Project    Leaders Award (4C was involved in two of the four shortlisted projects).    This project involves the supply of a combinatorial tender system for th  e    leasing, maintenance and repair of a new fleet of vehicles for Cork City    Council.  4C hopes to save the council millions of euro in their    procurement costs. </p>
  <h4 align="justify">Call for proposals to host CP-2009</h4>
  <div align="justify">We invite proposals  to host the 15th International  Conference  on the  Principles and Practice of Constraint Programming (CP-2009).  Proposals  are  due on  or  before February  29,  2008.  These  proposals will  be  evaluated by the Executive Committee  of the Association for Constraint  Programming and a decision made for the site shortly afterwards.
  </div>
  <p align="justify"> The  CP  conferences  are  the  premier  international  conferences  on  constraint programming.  They have  been held annually  since 1995.  CP  2008 will be held in  Sydney (AUS).  Previous  CP conferences have been  held in  Providence RI (USA), Nantes (Frances), Sitges (Spain), Toronto  (Canada), Kinsale (Ireland), Cornell (USA), Paphos (Cyprus), Singapore,  Alexandria (USA), Pisa  (Italy), Schloss Hagenberg (Austria), Cambridge  (USA), and  Cassis (France).  For  2009, proposals  from any venue will  be considered. </p>
  <p align="justify"> Proposals should be  up to two pages of plain  text and should address  the following numbered topics: </p>
  <div align="justify">
    <ul>
      <li> 1. Proposal for conference chair(s). </li>
      <li> 2. Local CP community support. </li>
      <li> 3. University, government and industry support, especially financial. </li>
      <li> 4. Proposed dates, and flexibility around these dates. </li>
      <li> 5. Co-located events that might be held alongside CP. </li>
      <li> 6. Conference and exhibition facilities (CP typically attracts between         200 and 250 delegates). </li>
      <li> 7. Accommodation and food services. </li>
      <li> 8. Site accessibility, attractiveness, and desirability. </li>
      <li> 9. Previous experience in running conferences and workshops. </li>
      <li> 10. Provisional budget. </li>
    </ul>
  </div>
  <p align="justify"> If available, please include  URLs to any additional information (e.g.  web site for the conference venue or hotel). </p>
  <p align="justify"> Guidelines for the  CP conference organization, as well  as the duties  of  the  conference  chair(s),  can  be  found on  the <a href="http://www.a4cp.org" target="_blank" onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)">ACP  web  site</a>. </p>
  <p align="justify"> Proposals  should  be sent  to  the  secretary  of the Association for  Constraint Programming  committee  preferably  by  email to  Jimmy Lee,  jlee[at]cse.cuhk.edu.hk.  In preparing a proposal, please feel free to  address  questions  (e.g.  regarding  the suitability  of the proposed  dates) to the same address. </p>
  <h4 align="justify">Call for proposals to host ICAPS 2010</h4>
  <div align="justify">Deadline : July 31, 2008
  </div>
  <p align="justify"> The ICAPS Executive Council is seeking proposals to host the 2010    International Conference on Automated Planning &amp; Scheduling.  ICAPS is    the premier international conference focused on the field of automated    planning and scheduling. </p>
  <p align="justify"> ICAPS'08 will take place in September 2008 in Sydney, Australia. <br />
    ICAPS'09 will take place in September 2009 in Thessaloniki, Greece </p>
  <p align="justify"> Proposals to host ICAPS'10 should include: </p>
  <div align="justify">
      <ul>
          <li> Organizers and Organizational Structure <br />
            The proposal should indicate proposed program chair(s) and any other    proposed conference committee members (e.g., conference chair, local    arrangements chair), and include a short CV of each. </li>
        <li> Proposed conference dates and timetable <br />
          Provisional time-table - should include submission-date; reviewing      period; author notification date, for conferences, workshops, etc. </li>
        <li> Venue <br />
          Details of the venue and accommodations available to delegates      including information about conference facilities, transportation      access, accommodation and venue attractiveness.  Include information on      lower-priced housing options for student. </li>
        <li> Previous experience of the local organization team in organizing      similar events. </li>
        <li> Format <br />
          Information on the format of the conference (e.g. single track vs.      multi-track, posters vs. presentations, etc.) </li>
        <li> Special related events such as potential invited speakers, workshops,      competitions, demonstrations, visits, etc. </li>
        <li> Any planned collocation with other conferences.  ICAPS was co-located      with CP in 2007 and will be co-located with both CP and KR in 2008.      Collocation is not a requirement for submitting a proposal. </li>
        <li> An outline budget of the the event, including information regarding th  e      break-even point, registration fees and model (e.g., whether a single      fee applies to all events, policy for joint registration with      collocated conferences), policy and support for students and young      researchers. </li>
        <li> List of potential sponsors and support organizations. </li>
        <li> Logistics <br />
          If the conference is outside North America, include a brief    description of the organization that will handle the logistics    (managing registration, issuing badges, staffing registration desk,    financial management, etc.)  When ICAPS is in North America, ICAPS     uses AAAI to provide conference and adminiatration support.   AAAI     may also be willing to provide conference support outside of North    America    and you can discuss this with AAAI directly. </li>
      </ul>
    <br />

A number of other items would be positively considered, however, each of these is only one of several factors that the executive council will consider in their decision.

  • Proposals that foster interaction and cross fertilization with related fields (such as collocation with related conferences).
  • Proposals that include means for encouraging and including members of the community in early phases of their careers are also welcomed (such as the doctoral consortium and/or summer school).
  • Proposals that include means for fostering new areas of work and growing potentially under-represented areas of work (such as the special tracks).

Proposers should note that:

  • funds are available carried over from previous conferences as seed money for future conferences. This money is required to guarantee the existence of the conference series and each organization applying to host ICAPS must show how they aim to cover all costs of the event.
  • ICAPS is an "AAAI affiliated conference": AAAI provides conference services when the conference is in North America; AAAI Press publishes the ICAPS Proceedings, including online version of the proceedings.
  </div>
  <p align="justify"> Proposals to host ICAPS should be sent electronically (PDF file) to: <a href="mailto:icaps-council@googlegroups.com" target="_blank" onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)">icaps-council@googlegroups.com</a> </p>

Please submit proposals by July 31, 2008

Proposers are welcome to contact the Conference Liaison or other members of the ICAP Council for informal consultation, and/or to submit draft proposals before that deadline.

Please get in touch with the Conference Liaison Officer, Shlomo Zilberstein for comments or advice on particular points, statistics on previous ICAPS conferences, past successful proposals (pending the agreement of their proposers). Clearly the closer to the deadline, the harder it will be to offer feedback.

Information about previous and next conferences and guidelines about ICAPS is available here

Publications

Constraint journal:

News
An annual report on Constraints has been prepared. You can find the link, called Statistics, on the bottom right of the Editor's web page The journal is doing well. Submissions are up and the turnaround time from submission to first decision is quite fast. As well, from the Editor's web page you can read about upcoming and planned special issues, sign up for table of contents alerting, and search abstracts and papers published in Constraints.

The contents of the most recently completed issue and forthcoming papers are listed below. Links to the authors' final versions of these papers and to the final published versions can be found here.

Forthcoming Papers

Evaluating ASP and Commercial Solvers on the CSPLib.
Toni Mancini, Davide Micaletto, Fabio Patrizi, Marco Cadoli

A Constraint-Based Autonomous 3D Camera System.
Owen Bourne, Abdul Sattar, Scott Goodwin

Minimization of Locally-Defined Submodular Functions by Optimal Soft Arc Consistency.
Martin C. Cooper

A Reinforcement Learning Approach to Interval Constraint Propagation.
Frederic Goualard, Christophe Jermann

Constraints, Volume 13, Issue 1 (2008)

Special Issue on Bioinformatics and Constraints

Introduction to the Special Issue.
Guest Editors: Alessandro Dal Palu, Agostino Dovier, Sebastian Will

Constraint Programming in Structural Bioinformatics.
Pedro Barahona and Ludwig Krippahl

Modelling Biological Networks by Action Languages via Answer Set Programming.
Steve Dworschak, Susanne Grell, Victoria J. Nikiforova, Torsten Schaub, Joachim Selbig

Modeling Biological Systems in Stochastic Concurrent Constraint Programming.
Luca Bortolussi and Alberto Policriti

DARN! A Soft Constraint Solver for RNA Motif Localization.
Matthias Zytnicki, Christine Gaspin, Thomas Schiex

Efficient Sequence Alignment with Side-Constraints by Cluster Tree Elimination.
Sebastian Will, Anke Busch and Rolf Backofen

Mendelian Error Detection in Complex Pedigrees using Weighted Constraint Satisfaction Techniques.
Marti Sanchez, Simon de Givry, Thomas Schiex

Boosting Haplotype Inference with Local Search.
Ines Lynce, Joao Marques-Silva, Steve Prestwich

PhD theses:

Xavier Lorca
Contraintes de Partitionnement de Graphe
Combinatorial problems based on graph partitioning enable to represent many practical applications. Examples based on phylogenetic supertree problem, mission planning, or the routing problems in logistic, perfectly illustrate such applications. This thesis focuses on constraint satisfaction problems related to tree partitioning problems enriched by several additional constraints that restrict the possible partitions topology.

Mathias Kleiner (LSIS, Marseille, France)
Contribution to the use of Constraint Programming for Finite Model Search in Artificial Intelligence.
PhD supervisor: Laurent Henocque.

Lionel Paris (LSIS, Marseille, France)
Approches pour les problemes SAT et CSP: ensembles strong backdoor, voisinage consistant et forme normale generalisee
PhD supervisors: Belaïd Benhamou, Pierre Siégel.

Cedric Piette (CRIL, Lens, France)
Techniques algorithmiques pour l'extraction de formules minimales inconsistantes PhD supervisors: Éric Grégoire, Bertrand Mazure.

Sébastien Tabary (CRIL, Lens, France)
Exploiter les conflits pour réduire l'effort de recherche en satisfaction de contraintes.
PhD supervisor: Eric Gregoire.

Julien Vion (CRIL, Lens, France)
Contributions a la resolution generique des problemes de satisfaction de contraintes.
PhD supervisors: Christophe Lecoutre, Lakhdar Sais.

Samba Ndojh Ndiaye (LSIS, Marseille, France)
Calcul et exploitation de recouvrements acycliques pour la resolution de (V)CSP.
PhD supervisors: Philippe Jegou, Cyril Terrioux.

Matthias Zytnicki (INRA, Toulouse, France)
Recherche d'ARN non-codants par reseaux de contraintes ponderees.
PhD supervisors: Christine Gaspin, Thomas Schiex.

HDR Thesis:

Special issues:

Lecture Notes on Artificial Intelligence, Special Issue on Recent Advances in Constraint Handling Rules

EXTENDED SUBMISSION DEADLINE: March 1, 2008

Editors: Thom Fruehwirth (Thom.Fruehwirth at uni-ulm.de), Tom Schrijvers (Tom.Schrijvers at cs.kuleuven.be)

The Constraint Handling Rules (CHR) language saw the light more than 15 years ago. Since then, it has become a major declarative specification and implementation language for constraint-based algorithms and applications. In recent years, the Workshops on Constraint Handling Rules have spurred the exchange of ideas within the CHR community, which has led to increased international collaboration, new theoretical results and optimized implementations.

The aim of this issue of Lecture Notes in Computer Science is to attract high-quality research papers on these recent advances in Constraint Handling Rules.

TOPICS

Topics of interest, on all aspects of CHR, include but are not limited to:

  • Semantics
  • Logical Algorithms
  • Constraint Solvers
  • Expressivity and Complexity
  • Program Analysis
  • Programming tools
  • Implementations and Optimization
  • Program Transformation and Generation
  • Language Extensions (Types, Modules)
  • Retractable Constraints
  • Programming Pearls
  • Programming Environments (Debugging)
  • Applications
  • Critical Assessment
  • Comparisons with Related Approaches

SUBMISSIONS

Revised and enhanced versions of papers published at the Workshops on Constraint Handling Rules and other occasions that have not appeared in archival journals are eligible for submission. Papers describing important past research in this area which have not been published in archival journal papers are also solicited. New work, surveys and comparison of state of the art techniques are also solicited. None of the submissions should have been published in any form prior to 2002.

When submitting already published papers with minor changes only, authors are responsible for ensuring copyright clearance with the previous publisher by obtaining a written permission to republish.

For any doubt regarding the appropriateness of the topic of a paper for this special issue please email one of the editors.

Papers should be written in English, and formatted using the LaTeX style files developed by Springer Verlag for LNCS. They can be downloaded here.

To submit please send your paper in pdf format only to both editors. Fo r further information, please look here.

IMPORTANT DATES

First call for papers: September, 2007
Submission (extended): March 1, 2008
Notification: June 1, 2008
Final version due: September 1, 2008
Publication: 2008/2009

A Special Issue of Archives of Control Sciences (ACS)
On Constraint Satisfaction for Planning and Scheduling

Guest Editors: Roman Bartak and Wojciech Legierski

Constraint satisfaction is a rapidly developing technology concerned with solving - by means of declarative programs - difficult combinatorial decision problems. Planning and scheduling are two areas where constraint satisfaction plays an important role and many dedicated techniques were developed for these areas. This special issue aims at presenting the recent development in the area of applying constraint satisfaction techniques to planning and scheduling problems as well as giving tutorial-like materials introducing newcomers to the area. We also welcome papers describing deployed applications.

Topics of interest include (but are not limited to):

  • Constraint satisfaction algorithms - domain filtering, propagation, search - directly applicable to planning and scheduling problems
  • Constraint models of planning and scheduling problems
  • Industrial applications
  • Constraint programming software and implementation techniques (with emphasis to planning and scheduling)
  • Teaching issues and tutorials

SUBMISSIONS

The authors are encouraged to submit manuscripts electronically [PDF or Postscript format] to the guest editors by the respective deadline, January 7th, 2008. Please follow the formatting instructions from the journal web pages, but send the papers to the guest editors (instead of to the journal editor). We do not impose any limit on the number of pages, however papers of enormous length should be discussed with the guest editors prior their submission. Each paper will be reviewed by at least two reviewers.

IMPORTANT DATES

Expression of interest: as soon as possible
Submissions: January 7, 2008
Notification: March 3, 2008
Publication: second half of 2008

Please consider that a second round of reviewing may be necessary if major revisions are requested by the reviewers.

GUEST EDITORS

Dr. Roman Bartak
Charles University, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics
Malostranské nám. 2/25, 118 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic
e-mail: bartak (AT) ktiml.mff.cuni.cz

Dr. Wojciech Legierski
Silesian University of Technology, Institute of Automatic Control
Akademicka 16, 44-101 Gliwice, Poland
e-mail: Wojciech.Legierski (AT) polsl.pl Constraint Programming Letters
Special Issue on the Next 10 Years of Constraint Programming

We are delighted to announce that a special issue on the Next 10 Years of Constraint Programming has appeared as Volume 1 of Constraint Programming Letters.

Constraint Programming Letters (CPL) provides an international forum for the electronic publication of high-quality scholarly articles on constraint programming. All published papers are freely available online.

This special issue collects invited papers following the workshop on "The next 10 years of constraint programming" that took place at the International Conference on Constraint Programming in Nantes, France in 2006.

The special issue editors: Lucas Bordeaux, Barry O'Sullivan, Pascal Van Hentenryck

Books

To appear at ISTE/John Wiley

end 2008 :
Constraint networks: Targeting simplicity for techniques and algorithms, by Christophe Lecoutre.

To appear in the constraint programming collection (Hermes - in French)

may 2008: SAT, under the direction of Lakhdar Saïs, Un Panorama Complet sur le Probleme SAT.

summer 2008: Resolution de Problemes Combinatoires a l'aide de Colonies de Fourmis.

end 2008: Contraintes de Partitionnement de Graphes, Théorie et Applications, under the direction of Xavier Lorca.

 

Events

  • ISAIM 2008, Tenth International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence and Mathematics, January 2-4, 2008, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. http://isaim2008.unl.edu
  • PADL'08, Tenth International Symposium on Practical Aspects of Declarative Languages 2008 (Co-located with ACM POPL'08), January 7-8, 2008, San Francisco, USA. http://www.ist.unomaha.edu/padl2008/
  • PEPM 2008, ACM SIGPLAN Workshop on Partial Evaluation and Program Manipulation (Co-located with ACM POPL'08), January 7-8, 2008, San Francisco, USA. http://www.program-transformation.org/PEPM08/WebHome
  • DAMP 2008, Workshop on Declarative Aspects of Multicore Programming (colocated with POPL 2008), January 9, 2008, San Francisco, USA. http://www.cliplab.org/Conferences/DAMP08
  • VMCAI'08, The Ninth International Conference on Verification, Model Checking and Abstract Interpretation, January 7-9, 2008, San Francisco, USA. http://www1.cs.uic.edu/vmcai08/index.php
  • SAC 2008, Track on Constraint Solving and Programming part of the 23rd Annual ACM Symposium on Applied Computing, March 16 - 20, 2008, Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil. http://www.sci.unich.it/~bista/organizing/constraint-sac2008/
  • ITC 2007, The Second International Timetabling Competition (held with PATAT 2008), August 19 - 22, 2008, Montreal, Canada. Paper Submission Deadline: January 25, 2008. http://www.cs.qub.ac.uk/itc2007
  • FLOPS 2008, Ninth International Symposium on Functional and Logic Programming, April 14 - 16, 2008, Ise, Japan. http://www.math.nagoya-u.ac.jp/~garrigue/FLOPS2008/
  • SAT 2008, 11th International Conference on Theory and Applications of Satisfiability Testing, May 12 - 15, 2008, Guangzhou, P. R. China. Paper Submission Deadline: January 18, 2008. http://www.upb.de/cs/SAT08
  • FLAIRS 2008, AI PLANNING AND SCHEDULING A Special Track at the 21st International FLAIRS Conference, May 15-17, 2008, Florida, USA. http://ktiml.mff.cuni.cz/~bartak/FLAIRS2008
  • CP/AI-OR 2008, The fifth international conference on Integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Operations Research (OR) techniques in Constraint Programming for Combinatorial Optimization Problems, May 20-23, 2008, Paris, France. http://contraintes.inria.fr/CPAIOR08/
  • AAAI-08, Twenty-Third AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, July 13-7, 2008, Chicago, USA. Technical and Special track Paper submission deadline: Jan 30, 2008. Nectar and Senior Member Papers due: Feb 19, 2008. http://www.aaai.org/Conferences/AAAI/aaai08.php
  • CSLP2008, 5th International Workshop on Constraints and Language Processing (as part of the European Summer School on Logic, Language and +Information ESSLLI 2008), August 11-15, 2008, Hamburg, Germany. Paper submission deadline: March 8, 2008. http://control.ruc.dk/CSLP2008.html
  • PATAT 2008, The 7th International Conference on the Practice and Theory of Automated Timetabling, August 19 - 22, 2008, Montreal, Canada. Paper Submission Deadline: January 20, 2008. http://www.patat2008.ca
  • CP 2008, 14th International Conference on Principles and Practice of Constraint Programming, Sydney, Australia, September 14 - 18, 2008. Paper submission deadline: April 1, 2008. http://www.cs.mu.oz.au/cp2008/
  • ICAPS'08, International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling (co-located with CP 2008), September 14-18, 2008, Sydney, Australia. Pape r submission deadline: April 28 / May 3, 2008. http://icaps08.icaps-conference.org/
  • SCHEALS'08, International Workshop on Scheduling in Healthcare Systems (in conjunction with the 1st International Conference on Applied Operational Research ICAOR'08), 15-16 September 2008, Yerevan, Armenia. Paper submission deadline: Apr 15, 2008. www.tadbirstm.org.ir
  • ICAOR'08, 1st International Conference on Applied Operational Research, 15-17 September 2008, Yerevan, Armenia. Paper submission deadline: Apr 15, 2008. www.tadbirstm.org.ir
  • ANTS 2008, Sixth International Conference on Ant Colony Optimization and Swarm Intelligence, September 22-24, 2008, Brussels, Belgium. Paper submission deadline: Mar 16, 2008. http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/ants2008

Career news

  • Open Positions! (Automated Storytelling / Game AI / Planning) in Singapore

    The research project will address the area of automated real-time storytelling for games in a dynamic, user-specific way that adapts to the player's actions. Think of a Lord of the Rings game - if the player plays Frodo and decides not to destroy the ring but instead tries to convince the elves to join forces against Sauron, how would the story change, i.e., how would we generate a story alternative in an automated way so that a great story experience for the player is still guaranteed?

    Primary areas of research in the project are artificial intelligence, planning, storytelling, and user assessment. We are looking for:

    • 1 Post-Doc
    • 4 PhD Students
    • 1 Research Engineer (Programming)
    • - 1 Research Engineer (Artist)

    (Additionally, we are looking to expand our core AI planning group that will work in cooperation with this project team - even more PhD student positions available there!)

    The project will start IN JANUARY, and while we'll likely not fill all positions right at the start, please contact me AS SOON AS POSSIBLE in case you are interested: Alexander Nareyek, alex@ai-center.com

    The Government of Irelands Embark Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme (2008)

    If interested in pursuing the opportunity below http://www.embark.ie/grant_schemes/postdoctoral.html in conjunction with the Cork Constraint Computation Centre, please contact e.freuder@4c.ucc.ie.

    Closing Date: 5.00pm on Thursday, 31st January, 2008.

    Faculty Opening: Intelligent Decision Support Systems Area at Singapore Management University

    School of Information Systems (SIS), Singapore Management University (SMU) Openings for Faculty in Intelligent Decision Support Systems

    Applications for research focused tenure-track positions are invited at all levels.

    The SIS research mission is to address deep technology challenges and management issues in information systems that have the potential to transform the way businesses operate.

    Real-world industry sectors provide SIS with a test-bed and laboratory for experimentation, as well as a fertile breeding ground for new ideas. Our faculty and students apply their research results to solve real problems in the context of industry settings and to create innovative information technology applications, systems, and management methods. At the same time, our faculty actively publish in top quality computer science and management science conference and journal outlets.

    The Singapore Management University (SMU) was officially incorporated in January 2000. It is a public-funded institution chartered in a unique way to provide the flexibility and operating characteristics of an American-style private university. Today, SMU is home to over 5,400 students and comprises six schools.

    We are seeking faculty candidates in Intelligent Decision Support Systems who are doing research in the following areas:

    • Interactive and visual analytics for decision support
    • Computational intelligence for optimisation and decision support
    • Computational markets and strategy games

    Research in SIS is concentrated in the following areas: Data Management and Business Intelligence; Information Security and Trust; Software Systems, Architecture and Integration; Intelligent Decision Support Systems; and Information Systems Management. SIS faculty members in all areas are strongly encouraged to collaborate on innovative research projects. SMU's Office of Research, the SIS's Research Centre, and the Singapore government provide generous support for high quality research proposals.

    SIS undergraduate and post-graduate programmes produce people who have depth in technology and innovative applications, and also understand IT management. The SIS undergraduate programme is committed to innovative pedagogy. SIS launched the first PhD programme in SMU in August 2006. SIS also launched Master of IT in Business programme in August 2007.

    Qualified candidates should initially submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, research and teaching statements and samples of published work. Candidates may submit softcopy or hardcopy of their application materials to:

    SIS Faculty Recruiting
    Singapore Management University
    School of Information Systems
    80 Stamford Road
    Singapore 178902
    E-mail: siscv@smu.edu.sg
    Website: www.sis.smu.edu.sg
    SMU-Carnegie Mellon Partnership

    Selected candidates will be asked to interview at Carnegie Mellon University. In 2003, SMU and Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, USA) entered into a close partnership to jointly establish the SMU School of Information Systems (SIS). Carnegie Mellon faculty are actively participating in SIS faculty selection, mentoring and development, and in the design of the SIS undergraduate curriculum, research centre, and postgraduate and professional programmes.

    Postdoc position at CWI, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

    The Algorithms, Combinatorics and Optimization group (PNA1) at the Centre for Mathematics and Computer Science (CWI) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, has an open position for a postdoc for a period of one year in the area of (preferably algorithmic) mechanism design.

    The position has to be filled by the end of this year. Research will take place in the nationally funded project ``Distributed Implementations of Adaptive Collective Decision Making'' (DIACoDeM). The project employs three postdocs from three groups at CWI: PNA1, Coordination Languages (SEN3) and Computational Intelligence and Multi-agent Games (SEN4).

    Further information about the project can be obtained from Prof. Krzysztof R. Apt, apt@cwi.nl. For more information about the research carried out in the PNA1 group see here.

    Applicants are expected to have a proven research experience in mechanism design and/or theory of strategic games.

    Terms of employment

    The salary and terms of employment are in accordance with the "CAO-onderzoekinstellingen" and are based on qualifications. Moreover, CWI offers attractive working conditions, including flexibility and initial help with housing for foreigners.

    Information and application

    Applications, mentioning "DIACoDeM Project", with enclosures a curriculum vitae, a list of publications and a list of references should be send by March 15th, 2007 to K.R. Apt, apt@cwi.nl.

    PostDoc job in Planning under Uncertainty

    A postdoctoral research grant is available at the Institute for Systems and Robotics (ISR) of the Instituto Superior Tecnico, Lisbon. The topic of the grant is planning under uncertainty in the context of multi-robot search and rescue. The goal is to develop methodology and algorithms for heterogeneous teams of robots involved in urban search-and-rescue tasks. Planning in such scenarios requires agents to handle uncertainty in acting, sensing as well as communication. Decentralized partially observable Markov decision processes form a state-of-the-art formal approach for multiagent planning, and we intend to apply them to multi-robot search-and-rescue tasks. More details can be found at here.

    ISR-Lisbon is a research institute of the Instituto Superior Tecnico, the oldest and largest engineering school in Portugal. ISR-Lisbon has a long standing tradition of research and development and offers a modern and enthusiastic research environment with strong interdisciplinary and international links.

    The grant has duration of (a maximum of) two years, and candidates should have obtained a relevant PhD degree (e.g., Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Electrical Engineering). The ideal candidate has expertise in Markov decision processes and multiagent/multi-robot systems. Applications should include CV, a statement of research interests and two recommendation letters, and be sent to Dr. Matthijs Spaan at mtjspaan@isr.ist.utl.pt or fax: +351-21-8418291, who can also be contacted for more information. Application deadline is February 7, 2008.

    PostDoc in CP, Nantes, France

    The constraint group of the Laboratoire díInformatique de Nantes Atlantique (LINA, UMR CNRS), located at the Ecole des Mines de Nantes (EMN), is seeking candidates for a one year (2*6 months) research position in automatized encoding and reformulation of Constraint Networks. This position should begin in February 2008. It is part of the national research project "Constraint Acquisition aNd Automatic Reformulation" (CANAR), which began in January 2007 (ANR CANAR 61007). Eligibility: The applicant must have a Ph.D. or four years of research experience since having obtained a university degree and have expertise in relevant areas, such as constraint reasoning, encoding of practical problems with solvers, or links between machine learning theory and constraint programming. Perfect skills in Object Programming are mandatory.

    Job description: The researcher will work with staff members and project members in the course of carrying out research related to machine learning-based improvement of constraints networks, and generic schemes for reformulating global constraints. The main objective of the work is to provide new exploitable tools for people who are experts in computer science, but not experts in Constraint Programming. Experiments will be performed using the Java constraint programming solver Choco.

    Location: The constraint group at LINA is one of the France's leading academic teams of constraint programming. It has about fifteen researchers and one research engineer permanently working on Choco. It is located at Nantes. For more information on this position please write to the local manager of the ANR Project CANAR at the Ecole des Mines de Nantes: Thierry.Petit@emn.fr, or directly send your application by post to Thierry Petit, Ecole des Mines de Nantes, LINA FRE CNRS 2729, 4, rue Alfred Kastler, FR-44307, Nantes, France.

    IRCSET Masters and PhD scholarships

    The Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET) has unveiled a 11.8 million euro scheme which will fund the early career formation of up to 165 doctoral and masters researchers in the sciences, engineering and technology. The Postgraduate Scholarship Research Scheme will operate in 2008 under the Council’s Embark Initiative.

    IRCSET's multi-annual research funding programmes are aimed at knowledge creation for the future benefit of society and the economy. They are also aimed at retaining highly talented researchers and attracting new researchers to carry out their work in Ireland.

    IRCSET today issued a call for applicants to a competitive process which will award funding to the most talented students intending to pursue postgraduate research in the sciences, engineering and technology.

    This call is open to candidates proposing to commence a research degree in autumn 2008. The scheme is open to candidates worldwide with a number of the scholarships being made available to exceptional candidates from non EU member states. (Closing Date: Wednesday 20th February 2008).

    A number of additional scholarships will also be awarded through IRCSET’s Enterprise Partnership Scheme which co-funds research scholars with a range of industry partners. Applicants can indicate on their application if in addition to consideration for an Embark Initiative award they also wish to be considered for an Enterprise Partnership Scheme Scholarship.

    The Enterprise Partnership Scheme affords young researchers the opportunity to learn valuable transferable skills and to learn from industry experts. It also allows companies an affordable means of becoming involved with leading Irish academics as well as having a role in the formation of young researchers and potential future employees. Current partners include IBM, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKiline, Merck Sharpe & Dohme, Hewlett Packard and Intel.

    Applications will only be accepted through IRCSET’s online grants application system. Successful PhD candidates will be funded for up to three years and successful masters students will receive funding for one year. A decision to grant funding will be based on the student's academic record, research preparation, references and a personal statement. Applications are subject to equal assessment, strictly on merit, by an independent academic panel.

    All relevant information is now available on the IRCSET website at www.ircset.ie

    The closing date for receipt of applications is Wednesday 20th Feb 2008.

    Internships at MBARI

    The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) is a private non-profit oceanographic research institute which has engaged in inter-disciplinary research in the ocean sciences and technology for 20 years. The institute does advanced work in Robotics, Genetics, Micro-Biology and Ocean Exploration and Observing with 3 ocean going ships, 2 Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV's) and 3 deep ocean Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV's) in addition to state-of-the-art science and technology facilities. MBARI's 2008 Internship applications are now open with details here.

    At MBARI the Autonomous Systems group is engaged in research efforts to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques to enable Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) to be more adaptive and self aware of their resource and goal commitments. Our onboard deliberative system T-REX (http://www.mbari.org/autonomy/TREX/) being used on our AUV platform (http://www.mbari.org/auv/), is based on the sense-deliberate-act paradigm synthesizing new mission plans in-situ in response to environmental conditions. T-REX uses a state-of-the-art temporal constraint-based planner (EUROPA) developed originally at NASA and deployed on a number of space missions including the ongoing Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) mission.

    Potential internship opportunities include working on:

    • PlanWorks debugging tool for EUROPA which allows us to leverage work done in visualization of constraint networks, token networks and timelines. The internship primarily be focused on developing PlanWorks to provide diagnostic information for T-REX.
    • Expanding the simulation capability currently available within T-REX, including monte-carlo simulation for model and and agent validation. The internship will focus on augmenting and adding new features for shore-side T-REX validation.
    • Extend the NDDL domain modeling language within the EUROPA planner to natively support arithmetic constraints and propagate them efficiently.

    Highly motivated graduate or undergraduate students with substantial

    • Java programming skills
    • Limited C or C++ programming skills
    • AI Planning and a background in Constraint Satisfaction would be a plus
    are encouraged to apply. Women and Minorities are particularly encouraged to apply.

    Internships at Microsoft Research

    The Constraint Reasoning Group is offering several three-months internship positions in Cambridge, UK. Jobs are open to PhD students and to post-doctoral researchers with a primary interest in constraint satisfaction and optimization methods and we welcome in particular applicants that have complementary interests in:
    • Application of ML to combinatorial search
    • Optimization under uncertainty
    • Integration of complete and incomplete methods,
    • #SAT, QBF, QCSP
    • Etc.

    The goal of these internships is to conduct fundamental research driven by long term Microsoft applications. More information about the MSRC internship program can be found here.

    Interested applicants have to register before February the 28th.

    Required availability: Summer-Autumn 2008.

    Contact point: youssefh at microsoft dot com.

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