Hybrid tractable CSPs which generalize tree structure
Martin C. Cooper‚ Peter G. Jeavons and András Z. Salamon
The constraint satisfaction problem (CSP) is a central generic problem in artificial intelligence. Considerable progress has been made in identifying properties which ensure tractability in such problems, such as the property of being tree-structured. In this paper we introduce the broken-triangle property, which allows us to define a hybrid tractable class for this problem which significantly generalizes the class of problems with tree structure. We show that the broken-triangle property is conservative (i.e., it is preserved under domain reduction and hence under arc consistency operations) and that there is a polynomial-time algorithm to determine an ordering of the variables for which the broken-triangle property holds (or to determine that no such ordering exists). We also present a non-conservative extension of the broken-triangle property which is also sufficient to ensure tractability and can be detected in polynomial time.