Designing a search strategy

How to design search strategies?

Designing your own search strategy

Using selectors

To design your own strategy using Search.intVarSearch, you simply have to implement your own variable and value selectors:

public static IntStrategy intVarSearch(VariableSelector<IntVar> varSelector,
                                    IntValueSelector valSelector,
                                    IntVar... vars)

For instance, to select the first non instantiated variable and assign it to its lower bound:

Solver s = model.getSolver();
        // variable selector
        (VariableSelector<IntVar>) variables -> {
            for(IntVar v:variables){
                    return v;
            return null;
        // value selector
        (IntValueSelector) var -> var.getLB(),
        // variables to branch on
        x, y

NOTE: When all variables are instantiated, a VariableSelector must return null.

From scratch

You can design your own strategy by creating Decision objects directly as follows:

s.setSearch(new AbstractStrategy<IntVar>(x,y) {
    // enables to recycle decision objects (good practice)
    PoolManager<IntDecision> pool = new PoolManager();
    public Decision getDecision() {
        IntDecision d = pool.getE();
        if(d==null) d = new IntDecision(pool);
        IntVar next = null;
        for(IntVar v:vars){
                next = v; break;
        if(next == null){
            return null;
        }else {
            // next decision is assigning nextVar to its lower bound
            d.set(next,next.getLB(), DecisionOperator.int_eq);
            return d;

Making a decision greedy

You can make a decision non-refutable by using decision.setRefutable(false) inside your

To make an entire search strategy greedy, use:

Solver s = model.getSolver();

Large Neighborhood Search (LNS)

Defining its own neighborhoods

One can define its own neighbor by extending the abstract class INeighbor. It forces to implements the following methods:

void recordSolution()
// Action to perform on a solution. 
// Typically, storing the current variables’ value.
void fixSomeVariables()
// Fix some variables to their value in the last solution.
void restrictLess()
// Relax the number of variables fixed. 
// Called when no solution was found during a LNS run 
// (i.e., trapped into a local optimum).
boolean isSearchComplete()`
// Indicates whether the neighbor is complete, that is, can end.

Last modified 16.03.2020: Update doc (2a51b22)