Local And Global Relational Consistency
Rina Dechter (dechter@ics.uci.edu) & Peter van Beek (vanbeek@cs.ualberta.ca)

Local consistency has proven to be an important concept in the theory and practice of constraint networks. In this paper, we present a new definition of local consistency, called relational consistency. The new definition is relation-based, in contrast with the previous definition of local consistency, which we characterize as variable-based. We show the conceptual power of the new definition by showing how it unifies known elimination operators such as resolution in theorem proving, joins in relational databases, and variable elimination for solving linear inequalities. Algorithms for enforcing various levels of relational consistency are introduced and analyzed. We also show the usefulness of the new definition in characterizing relationships between properties of constraint networks and the level of local consistency needed to ensure global consistency.

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