Interactive Cost Configuration Over Decision Diagrams

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In many AI domains such as product configuration, a user should interactively specify a solution that must satisfy a set of constraints. In such scenarios, offline compilation of feasible solutions into a tractable representation is an important approach to delivering efficient backtrack-free user interaction online. In particular,binary decision diagrams (BDDs) have been successfully used as a compilation target for product and service configuration. In this paper we discuss how to extend BDD-based configuration to scenarios involving cost functions which express user preferences.

We first show that an efficient, robust and easy to implement extension is possible if the cost function is additive, and feasible solutions are represented using multi-valued decision diagrams (MDDs). We also discuss the effect on MDD size if the cost function is non-additive or if it is encoded explicitly into MDD. We then discuss interactive configuration in the presence of multiple cost functions. We prove that even in its simplest form, multiple-cost configuration is NP-hard in the input MDD. However, for solving two-cost configuration we develop a pseudo-polynomial scheme and a fully polynomial approximation scheme. The applicability of our approach is demonstrated through experiments over real-world configuration models and product-catalogue datasets. Response times are generally within a fraction of a second even for very large instances.

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