Enumeration of valid partial configurations
Paper in proceedings, 2011
Models of configurable products can have hundreds of variables and thousands of configuration constraints. A product engineer usually has a limited responsibility area, and thus is interested in only a small subset of the variables that are relevant to the responsibility area. It is important for the engineer to have an overview of possible products with respect to the responsibility area, with all irrelevant information omitted. Configurations with some variables omitted we will call partial configurations, and we will call a partial configuration valid if it can be extended to a complete configuration satisfying all configuration constraints. In this paper we consider exact ways to compute valid partial configurations: we present two new algorithms based on Boolean satisfiability solvers, as well as ways to use knowledge compilation methods (Binary Decision Diagrams and Decomposable Negation Normal Form) to compute valid partial configurations. We also show that the proposed methods are feasible on configuration data from two automotive companies.