Start by designing your data structures.
What are the elements of a constraint satisfaction problem? You should know. Turn them into abstract classes or interfaces. Be sure to include a class or interface representing a complete CSP (its name should probably be. . . I’ll let you guess). Your implementation of the CSP algorithms will work off these abstract representations. Then you will create concrete implementations of this abstract representation to represent specific CSPs.
Next: What are the key algorithms for solving CSPs, as described in the project require- ments? Create one or more classes that implement the algorithm(s) using the abstract representation of CSPs. That is, these methods should work on any CSP.
Implement the algorithms based on the AIMA pseudo-code. It is a very straightforward mapping. You can even use the pseudo-code as comments for your code. If your code doesn’t match the pseudo-code, you probably aren’t doing it right.
Next: Pick one of the required CSPs and implement the concrete classes that extend the abstract classes or implement the abstract interfaces. That is, if the abstract specification refers to Vogons and Demons and Carnivores, you will have a class extending or implementing Vogon, one for Demon, and one for Carnivore. You may also have a class extending or implementing the abstract representation of a CSP.
Next: You need to be able to create instances of that kind of CSP. That is, some code must create the different elements (Vogons, Demons, Carnivores, etc.) and combine them into an instance of a CSP. Some problems have only one instance. Some problems may allow you to construct different instances. Regardless, you need clear constructors, methods, or functions that create any necessary instances.
Repeat this last step for each of the required problems.
You should have good constructors for all your classes so that the relationships among the parts are clear (and enforced by the Java compiler). If you’re not using Java, you’re on your own but you must still use good object-oriented design.
Finally, write code that creates an instance of a problem and an instance of a solver, and calls the solver to (try to) solve the problem. Your code should print out the initial state of the problem and the solution (if any) in meaningful, informative ways. Having good toString() methods will certainly help here.
Note the benefit of using a constraint satisfaction framework for solving problems. Once you’ve written the abstract specification and implemented the solver(s), all you have to do to solve a problem is write the concrete instantiation of the specification for that problem. The solvers will (try to) solve all of them.
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