Reasoning with conditional time-intervals representing activities or tasks that may or may not be executed in the final schedule is crucial in many scheduling applications. In Constraint-Based Scheduling, those problems are usually handled by defining new global constraints over classical integer variables. The approach described in this paper takes a different perspective by introducing a new type of variable (namely a time-interval variable) that intrinsically embeds the notion of conditionality. This dual perspective facilitates the modelling process while ensuring a strong constraint propagation and an efficient search in the engine. The approach forms the foundations of the new generation of scheduling model and algorithms provided in ILOG CP Optimizer.
This slide deck was presented at the FLAIRS 2008 conference.