Two new tools for MiniZinc, and a paper
Some days ago, the G12 group released two new tools for MiniZinc that I haven't used that much, but will hopefully do in the not to far future. Also, a recent paper is mentioned.
G12 IDEThe G12 IDE is an application for writing, running, visualizing, and debugging MiniZinc models. It is based on (the Java IDE) Eclipse. It can be downloaded here.
fzn2xcspfzn2xcsp is a tool for converting a subset of FlatZinc to XCSP 2.1. As of writing this tools is only available in the development version.
Paper: Philosophy of the MiniZinc challengePeter J. Stuckey, Ralph Becket, and Julien Fischer: Philosophy of the MiniZinc challenge (Springer Link). It is published in the Constraints Journal, but the paper is not available there (yet).
MiniZinc arose as a response to the extended discussion at CP2006 of the need for a standard modelling language for CP. This is a challenging problem, and we believe MiniZinc makes a good attempt to handle the most obvious obstacle: there are hundreds of potential global constraints, most handled by few or no systems. A standard input language for solvers gives us the capability to compare different solvers. Hence, every year since 2008 we have run the MiniZinc Challenge comparing different solvers that support MiniZinc. In this report we discuss the philosophy behind the challenge, why we do it, how we do it, and why we do it that way.
Beside being an interesting paper about the MiniZinc challenge (see the MiniZinc homepage for links to the last two year's challenges, and this year's), it is also the first constraint programming paper where I'm mentioned (in the Acknowledgment). Thanks for this, I'm honored and appreciate it very much.