Formulating constraint satisfaction problems for the inspection of configuration rules
Journal article, 2016
Product configuration is when an artifact from a product family is assembled from a set of predefined components that can only be combined in certain ways. These ways are defined by configuration rules. The product developers inspect the configuration rules when they develop new configuration rules or modify the configuration rules set. The inspection of configuration rules is thereby an important activity to avoid errors in the configuration rules set. Several formulations of constraint satisfaction problems (CSPs) are proposed that facilitate the inspection of configuration rules in propositional logic (IF-THEN, AND, NOT, OR, etc.). Many of the configuration rules are so called production rules; that is, a configuration rule is an IF-THEN expression that fires when the IF condition is met. Several configuration rules build chains thatfire during the product configuration. It is therefore important not only to inspect single configuration rules but also to analyze the effect of multiple configuration rules. Formulating the tasks as variations of the CSP can support the inspection activity. More specifically, we address the reformulation of configuration rules, testing of feature variant combinations, and counting of item quantities from an item set. The suggested CSPs are tested on industrial vehicle configuration rules for computational performance. The results show that the time for achieving results from the solving of the CSP is within seconds. Our future work will be to implement the various CSPs into a demonstrator that could be tested by product developers.