Message delay and DisCSP search algorithms Academic Article uri icon


  • Distributed constraint satisfaction problems (DisCSPs) are composed of agents, each holding its own variables, that are connected by constraints to variables of other agents. Due to the distributed nature of the problem, message delay can have unexpected effects on the behavior of distributed search algorithms on DisCSPs. This has been recently shown in experimental studies of asynchronous backtracking algorithms (Bejar et al., Artif. Intell., 161:117---148, 2005; Silaghi and Faltings, Artif. Intell., 161:25---54, 2005). To evaluate the impact of message delay on the run of DisCSP search algorithms, a model for distributed performance measures is presented. The model counts the number of non concurrent constraints checks, to arrive at a solution, as a non concurrent measure of distributed computation. A simpler version measures distributed computation cost by the non-concurrent number of steps of computation. An algorithm for computing these distributed measures of computational effort is described. The realization of the model for measuring performance of distributed search algorithms is a simulator which includes the cost of message delays. Two families of distributed search algorithms on DisCSPs are investigated. Algorithms that run a single search process, and multiple search processes algorithms. The two families of algorithms are described and associated with existing algorithms. The performance of three representative algorithms of these two families is measured on randomly generated instances of DisCSPs with delayed messages. The delay of messages is found to have a strong negative effect on single search process algorithms, whether synchronous or asynchronous. Multi search process algorithms, on the other hand, are affected very lightly by message delay.

publication date

  • January 1, 2006