PTHG-18: The Second Workshop on Progress Towards the Holy Grail

August 27, 2018, at CP 2018, Lille, France


Some twenty years ago the paper “In Pursuit of the Holy Grail” proposed that Constraint Programming was well-positioned to pursue the Holy Grail of computer science: the user simply states the problem and the computer solves it. This workshop will look at progress towards that goal, in particular regarding work on automating:

  • Problem Acquisition: learning, debugging, maintaining, etc.
  • Model Reformulation: transformation for efficient solution, redundant models, etc.
  • Solver Construction: adaptive parameter tuning, automated selection from portfolios, etc.
  • User Explanation: reasons for failure, implications for choices, etc.

Of special interest is the intersection of the Holy Grail goal with the increasing attention being paid to Human-Aware AI, machine learning, and intelligent software assistants.


The keynote talk will be given by Jean-François Puget, Distinguished Engineer, Machine Learning, Optimization, Advanced Analytics, IBM


Four panelists will each speak briefly on progress in one of the above four bulleted areas: where we are now, with an emphasis on any further progress since the last Workshop (at CP17).  This will be followed by a general discussion/Q&A, which includes the audience.


Submissions may be of any length, be position papers, technical papers, or demos, review your own previous work, survey a topic area, present new research, or suggest directions for further progress.

Authors may make multiple submissions if they wish. All submissions that appropriately address the topic of the workshop will be accepted as is, without further revision, and will be made available at the workshop website.

At least one author of every accepted submission must attend the workshop and pay the workshop fee; otherwise any presentation (and submission) will be withdrawn from the proceedings, if any, and program.

Submissions should be emailed, at least 2 weeks before the early registration date for the conference, in PDF form, with subject line “PTHG-18 Submission”, directly to the Workshop chair, at:


A portion of the Workshop will be devoted to brainstorming discussions regarding:

  • Measuring progress towards the Holy Grail
  • Developing a research roadmap for progress towards the Holy Grail
  • Forming collaborations to further progress towards the Holy Grail

Position papers on these topics are especially welcome.

Organizing Committee:

Chair: Eugene Freuder, University College Cork, Ireland:

Christian Bessière, CNRS – Université Montpellier, France

Lars Kotthoff, University of Wyoming, USA

Ian Miguel, University of St Andrews, Scotland

Barry O’Sullivan, University College Cork, Ireland


Submission Deadline: 2 weeks before the early registration date for the conference

Notification of Acceptance: 1 week before the early registration date for the conference

Workshop: August 27, 2018