Discrete Optimization aims to make good decisions when we have many possibilities to choose from. Its applications are ubiquitous throughout our society. Its applications range from solving Sudoku puzzles to arranging seating in a wedding banquet. The same technology can schedule planes and their crews, coordinate the production of steel, and organize the transportation of iron ore from the mines to the ports. Good decisions on the use of scarce or expensive resources such as staffing and material resources also allow corporations to improve their profit by millions of dollars. Similar problems also underpin much of our daily lives and are part of determining daily delivery routes for packages, making school timetables, and delivering power to our homes. Despite their fundamental importance, these problems are a nightmare to solve using traditional undergraduate computer science methods.
This course is intended for students who have completed Advanced Modelling for Discrete Optimization. In this course, you will extend your understanding of how to solve challenging discrete optimization problems by learning more about the solving technologies that are used to solve them, and how a high-level model (written in MiniZinc) is transformed into a form that is executable by these underlying solvers. By better understanding the actual solving technology, you will both improve your modeling capabilities, and be able to choose the most appropriate solving technology to use.
Watch the course promotional video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EiRsK-Rm08

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Basic Constraint Programming

This module starts by using an example to illustrate the basic machinery of Constraint Programming solvers, namely constraint propagation and search. While domains represent possibilities for variables, constraints are actively used to reason about domains and can be encoded as domain propagators and bounds propagators. You will learn how a propagation engine handles a set of propagators and coordinates the propagation of constraint information via variable domains. You will also learn basic search, variable and value choices, and how propagation and search can be combined in a seamless and efficient manner. Last but not least, this module describes how to program search in MiniZinc.