Variable and value ordering decision matrix hyper-heuristics: A local improvement approach
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Constraint Satisfaction Problems (CSP) represent an important topic of study because of their many applications in different areas of artificial intelligence and operational research. When solving a CSP, the order in which the variables are selected to be instantiated and the order of the corresponding values to be tried affect the complexity of the search. Hyper-heuristics are flexible methods that provide generality when solving different problems and, within CSP, they can be used to determine the next variable and value to try. They select from a set of low-level heuristics and decide which one to apply at each decision point according to the problem state. This study explores a hyper-heuristic model for variable and value ordering within CSP based on a decision matrix hyper-heuristic that is constructed by going into a local improvement method that changes small portions of the matrix. The results suggest that the approach is able to combine the strengths of different low-level heuristics to perform well on a wide range of instances and compensate for their weaknesses on specific instances. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.