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Compactness and Its Implications for Qualitative Spatial and Temporal Reasoning

Last modified: 2012-05-17

#### Abstract

A constraint satisfaction problem has compactness if any infinite set of constraints is satisfiable whenever all its finite subsets are satisfiable. We prove a sufficient condition for compactness, which holds for a range of problems including those based on the well-known Interval Algebra (IA) and RCC8. Furthermore, we show that compactness leads to a useful necessary and sufficient condition for the recently introduced patchwork property, namely that patchwork holds exactly when every satisfiable finite network (i.e., set of constraints) has a canonical solution, that is, a solution that can be extended to a solution for any satisfiable finite extension of the network. Applying these general theorems to qualitative reasoning, we obtain important new results as well as significant strengthenings of previous results regarding IA, RCC8, and their fragments and extensions. In particular, we show that all the maximal tractable fragments of IA and RCC8 (containing the base relations) have patchwork and canonical solutions as long as networks are algebraically closed.

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