A Generic Framework for Constraint-Directed Search and Scheduling

  • J. Christopher Beck
  • Mark S. Fox


This article introduces a generic framework for constraint-directed search. The research literature in constraint-directed scheduling is placed within the framework both to provide insight into, and examples of, the framework and to allow a new perspective on the scheduling literature. We show how a number of algorithms from the constraint-directed scheduling research can be conceptualized within the framework. This conceptualization allows us to identify and compare variations of components of our framework and provides new perspective on open research issues. We discuss the prospects for an overall comparison of scheduling strategies and show that firm conclusions vis-a-vis such a comparison are not supported by the literature. Our principal conclusion is the need for an empirical model of both the characteristics of scheduling problems and the solution techniques themselves. Our framework is offered as a tool for the development of such an understanding of constraint-directed scheduling and, more generally, constraint-directed search.