Lifting symmetry breaking constraints with inductive logic programming

Alice Tarzariol*, Martin Gebser, Konstantin Schekotihin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Efficient omission of symmetric solution candidates is essential for combinatorial problem-solving. Most of the existing approaches are instance-specific and focus on the automatic computation of Symmetry Breaking Constraints (SBCs) for each given problem instance. However, the application of such approaches to large-scale instances or advanced problem encodings might be problematic since the computed SBCs are propositional and, therefore, can neither be meaningfully interpreted nor transferred to other instances. As a result, a time-consuming recomputation of SBCs must be done before every invocation of a solver. To overcome these limitations, we introduce a new model-oriented approach for Answer Set Programming that lifts the SBCs of small problem instances into a set of interpretable first-order constraints using the Inductive Logic Programming paradigm. Experiments demonstrate the ability of our framework to learn general constraints from instance-specific SBCs for a collection of combinatorial problems. The obtained results indicate that our approach significantly outperforms a state-of-the-art instance-specific method as well as the direct application of a solver.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1303–1326
JournalMachine Learning
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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