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The Distributed Constraint Satisfaction Problem: Formalization and Algorithms
September/October 1998 (vol. 10 no. 5)
pp. 673-685

Abstract—In this paper, we develop a formalism called a distributed constraint satisfaction problem (distributed CSP) and algorithms for solving distributed CSPs. A distributed CSP is a constraint satisfaction problem in which variables and constraints are distributed among multiple agents. Various application problems in Distributed Artificial Intelligence can be formalized as distributed CSPs. We present our newly developed technique called asynchronous backtracking that allows agents to act asynchronously and concurrently without any global control, while guaranteeing the completeness of the algorithm. Furthermore, we describe how the asynchronous backtracking algorithm can be modified into a more efficient algorithm called an asynchronous weak-commitment search, which can revise a bad decision without exhaustive search by changing the priority order of agents dynamically. The experimental results on various example problems show that the asynchronous weak-commitment search algorithm is, by far more, efficient than the asynchronous backtracking algorithm and can solve fairly large-scale problems.

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Index Terms:
Backtracking algorithms, constraint satisfaction problem, distributed artificial intelligence, iterative improvement algorithm, multiagent systems.
Citation:
Makoto Yokoo, Edmund H. Durfee, Toru Ishida, Kazuhiro Kuwabara, "The Distributed Constraint Satisfaction Problem: Formalization and Algorithms," IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering, vol. 10, no. 5, pp. 673-685, Sept.-Oct. 1998, doi:10.1109/69.729707
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