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From the same journal

ESSENCE: A constraint language for specifying combinatorial problems

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Alan M. Frisch
  • Warwick Harvey
  • Christopher Jefferson
  • Bernadette Martínez Hernández
  • Ian Miguel


Publication details

JournalJournal of Constraints
DatePublished - Sep 2008
Issue number3
Number of pages39
Pages (from-to)268-306
Original languageEnglish


Essence is a formal language for specifying combinatorial problems in a manner similar to natural rigorous specifications that use a mixture of natural language and discrete mathematics. Essence provides a high level of abstraction, much of which is the consequence of the provision of decision variables whose values can be combinatorial objects, such as tuples, sets, multisets, relations, partitions and functions. Essence also allows these combinatorial objects to be nested to arbitrary depth, providing for example sets of partitions, sets of sets of partitions, and so forth. Therefore, a problem that requires finding a complex combinatorial object can be specified directly by using a decision variable whose type is precisely that combinatorial object.

    Research areas

  • constraint languages, specification languages, constraint modelling, constraint programming, combinatorial problems, SPECIFICATIONS

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