The Design of the MiniZinc Modelling Language
2021-07-29, 12:30–13:00 (UTC), JuMP Track

In this talk, we discuss the design of MiniZinc, a leading Constraint modelling language.

MiniZinc was designed with the aim to become a 'standard' Constraint Programming modelling language. As such, it is oriented towards logical and combinatorial constraints standardized in the Global Constraints Catalogue, but also supports continuous variables. The most important design criteria were expressiveness, while at the same time simplicity for practical implementation, and mechanisms for easy plugging of new solvers. The solver interface incorporates a low-level language FlatZinc (aka MPS for example), and a redefinition scheme for global constraints. The latter enables native handling of globals supported by a given solver, while applying default or solver-specific redefinitions for unsupported ones. Other solver technologies, such as SAT, local search, and MIP, have been interfaced, and several experimental interfaces exist, such as to quantum computing. The modelling system has enabled the annual solver competition MiniZinc Challenge since 2008.