Temporal Constraints: A Survey
Schwalb, E. and L. Vila

Abstract. Temporal Constraint Satisfaction is an information technology useful for representing and answering queries about the times of events and the temporal relations between them. Information is represented as a Constraint Satisfaction Problem (CSP) where variables denote event times and constraints represent the possible temporal relations between them. The main tasks are two: (i) deciding consistency, and (ii) answering queries about scenarios that satisfy all constraints. This paper overviews results on several classes of Temporal CSPs: qualitative interval, qualitative point, metric point, and some of their combinations. Research has progressed along three lines: (i) identifying tractable subclasses, (ii) developing exact search algorithms, and (iii) developing polynomial-time approximation algorithms. Most available techniques are based on two principles: (i) enforcing local consistency (e.g. path-consistency), and (ii) enhancing naive backtracking search.

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