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Qualitative modelling via constraint programming

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle



Qualitative modelling is a technique integrating the fields of theoretical computer science, artificial intelligence and the physical and biological sciences. The aim is to be able to model the behaviour of systems without estimating parameter values and fixing the exact quantitative dynamics. Traditional applications are the study of the dynamics of physical and biological systems at a higher level of abstraction than that obtained by estimation of numerical parameter values for a fixed quantitative model. Qualitative modelling has been studied and implemented to varying degrees of sophistication in Petri nets, process calculi and constraint programming. In this paper we reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of existing frameworks, we demonstrate how recent advances in constraint programming can be leveraged to produce high quality qualitative models, and we describe the advances in theory and technology that would be needed to make constraint programming the best option for scientific investigation in the broadest sense.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-173
Issue number2
Early online date12 Feb 2014
StatePublished - Apr 2014

    Research areas

  • Constraint programming, Qualitative models

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