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Equivalence Class Subset Algorithm

Authors: Jeffrey L. Duffany


The equivalence class subset algorithm is a powerful tool for solving a wide variety of constraint satisfaction problems and is based on the use of a decision function which has a very high but not perfect accuracy. Perfect accuracy is not required in the decision function as even a suboptimal solution contains valuable information that can be used to help find an optimal solution. In the hardest problems, the decision function can break down leading to a suboptimal solution where there are more equivalence classes than are necessary and which can be viewed as a mixture of good decision and bad decisions. By choosing a subset of the decisions made in reaching a suboptimal solution an iterative technique can lead to an optimal solution, using series of steadily improved suboptimal solutions. The goal is to reach an optimal solution as quickly as possible. Various techniques for choosing the decision subset are evaluated.

Keywords: Algorithm, Complexity, NP-complete

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

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