Abstract: Core-guided techniques have revolutionized Boolean satisfiability approaches to optimization problems (MaxSAT), but the process at the heart of these methods, strengthening bounds on solutions by repeatedly adding cardinality constraints, remains a bottleneck. Cardinality constraints require significant work to be re-encoded to SAT, and SAT solvers are notoriously weak at cardinality reasoning. In this work, we lift core-guided search to pseudo-Boolean (PB) solvers, which deal with more general PB optimization problems (of which MaxSAT is a special case) and operate natively with cardinality constraints. The cutting planes method used in such solvers allows us to derive stronger cardinality constraints, which yield better updates to solution bounds, and the increased efficiency of objective function reformulation also makes it feasible to switch repeatedly between lower-bounding and upper-bounding search. A thorough experimental evaluation on applied and crafted benchmarks shows that our core-guided PB solver significantly improves on the state of the art in pseudo-Boolean optimization.
Authors: Jo Devriendt, Stephan Gocht, Emir Demirovic, Jakob Nordstrom, Peter J. Stuckey (Lund University, University of Copenhagen, KU Leuven, TU Delft, Monash University)