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Rules & Scoring

Rules for System Track


The scenario of the System Track aims at reproducing, as faithfully as possible, a setting in which it is measured the performance of a given system against a problem encoding (and instance thereof) of unknown nature and complexity, where the problem encoding is generally more "declarative" rather than "tricky".


  1. The System competition is open to general-purpose ASP systems, able to parse a fixed input format. The input language of choice for the 4th ASP Competition is ASP-Core 2.0(see File and Language Formats).

  2. The competition is run over a selection of problems. For each problem, a corresponding, fixed encoding, together with a set of benchmarks instances, is chosen by the organizers (see the Official Problem Suite);

  3. Each participating system will be run with a fixed default setting on each problem and instance thereof.
  4. Syntactic special-purpose solving techniques are strictly forbidden. Among syntactic solving techniques we classify the switch of internal solver options depending on:

    • command-line file names;
    • predicate and variable names;
    • "signature" techniques, aimed at recognizing a particular benchmark problem, such as counting the number of rules, constraints, predicates and atoms in a given encoding.
    In order to discourage such techniques the competition committee holds the right to introduce in the competition evaluation platform syntactic means for scrambling program encodings, such as, e.g., random renaming of files, predicates and variables. Furthermore, the committee takes, in general, the right to replace official program encodings with syntactically changed versions.
  5. The semantic recognition of the program structure is allowed (and encouraged), instead. Among allowed semantic recognition techniques, we classify:

    • Recognition of the class the program encoding belongs to (e.g., stratified, positive, etc.) and possible consequent switch on of on-purpose evaluation techniques.
    • Recognition of general rule and program structures (e.g., common un-stratified even and odd-cycles, common join patterns within a rule body, etc.), provided these techniques are general and not peculiar of a given problem selected for the competition.

Rules for the Model & Solve Track


The scenario of the Model & Solve Track aims at reproducing, as faithfully as possible, a setting in which a system's team faces a problem specification and is asked, in a limited time range, to provide a tailored solution, optimized both in terms of problem encoding and evaluation strategy.


  1. The competition organizers select a number of problem specifications, together with a set of test instances, these latter expressed in a common instance input format (basically, a set of facts in standard syntax).
  2. Per each problem, teams are allowed to submit a specific solver (or a solving script) and a problem encoding.
  3. Solutions must be objectively based on a declarative specification system at their core.

Reproducibility of Competition results

The committee will not disclose submitted material until the end of the competition, although willingly participants are allowed to share their own work at any moment. In order to allow transparency and reproducibility of the competition results, the participants agree that any material (system binaries, scripts, problems encodings) submitted by participants will be made public after the competition.

On request of competitors, material will be published under an explicit 'limited usage license' (e.g. usage of binaries for academic purposes only), and can be properly watermarked (e.g. scripts and systems' banners can include explicit mention of the Fourth ASP Competition).


The scoring system adopted in each category of the competition refines the one used in the 3d ASP competition (which in turn extended first and second competion's scoring system) was mainly based on a weighted sum of the number of instances solved within the given time-bound). In particular, the scoring system balances the following factors:

  1. Problems having more instances shall not have bigger scoring range. Thus, for a given problem P, a normalized score shall be awarded, obtained by averaging the score awarded to each instance.

  2. Non-sound solvers, and encodings, are strongly discouraged. Thus, if system S outputs an incorrect answer for instance I of some problem P, this shall invalidate all the score achieved for problem P.

  3. A system managing to solve a given problem instance sets a clear gap over systems not able to. Thus, per each instance I of problem P, a flat reward shall be given if I is solved in the allotted time.

  4. A system is generally perceived as clearly faster if solving time stays orders of magnitude below the maximum allowed time. Thus, similarly to SAT competition scores a logarithmically weighted bonus is awarded to faster systems.
  5. In the case of optimization problems, scoring should depend also on the quality of the provided solution. Thus, points have to be rewarded when finding better solutions, by taking into account the fact that small improvements in solution-quality are usually obtained at the price of strong computational efforts: bonus for a better quality solution is thus given on an exponential weighting basis.

In general, 100 points per each given benchmark problem can be earned. The final score of a solver will then consist of the sum of the scores over all benchmarks.

For detailed information about scoring and the instance selection process, see Scoring Details

Instance Selection process

See above.

Global Ranking

The global ranking is computed by awarding each participant a score that is the sum of its score in each problem. The system with the higher score is proclaimed as winner in the corresponding track.

In the remote case a track ends in a tie, this is awarded ex-aequo.

Systems making usage of randomization

In order to guarantee reproducibility of the Competition outcomes, systems possibly making usage of randomization are required to be set in order to work with a fixed random seed.

Dispute resolution

The competition committee holds the right to enforce the fair respect of all the above regulations, to settle possible disputes and to inflict appropriate penalties and/or disqualifications to infringing participants.


The competition will be run on several Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS x86-64 machines featuring two AMD Opteron Magny-Cours 6176 SE CPUs (total of 24 cores) running at 2.3 GHz with 128GiB of physical RAM.

The servers are equipped with the C/C++ compiler GCC 4.6.3. Recall that dynamic libraries needed at runtime will have to be reachable according to the above regulations regarding path accessibility.

CPU limits

To accommodate multi-core evaluations, runs are classified into sequential and parallel runs. Sequential runs will be evaluated in a single-core Linux control group (see https://www.kernel.org/doc/Documentation/cgroups/cgroups.txt), while parallel runs are limited to a six-core control group; all of the six cores form one NUMA node to prevent memory access overhead. For both kind of runs only memory with the lowest distance to its NUMA node will be used.

Memory limits

Each process spawned by participants solvers will have access to the Linux process memory space (without swap) of the particular sequential or parallel control group. The memory reserved for each control group is constrained to 6 GiB. (1 GiB = 1 gibibyte = 2^30 bytes.)

ASP Competition 2013: ParticipationRules (last edited 2013-02-24 21:42:21 by GiovambattistaIanni)