A General Scheme for Automatic Generation of Search Heuristics from Specification Dependencies
Kalev Kask, Rina Dechter
The paper presents and evaluates the power of a new scheme that generates search heuristics mechanically for problems expressed using a set of functions or relations over a finite set of variables. The heuristics are extracted from a parameterized approximation scheme called Mini-Bucket elimination that allows controlled trade-off between computation and accuracy. The heuristics are used to guide Branch-and- Bound and Best-First search. Their performance is compared on two optimization tasks: the Max-CSP task defined on deterministic databases and the Most Probable Explanation task defined on probabilistic databases. Benchmarks were random data sets as well as applications to coding and medical diagnosis problems. Our results demonstrate that the heuristics generated are effective for both search schemes, permitting controlled trade-off between preprocessing (for heuristic generation) and search.

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