The ASP competition 2011 has a number of interesting planning problem challenges. Most of them aren’t too complex: they have only few constraints and a few fact types. So if you’re interested in a good beginner’s challenge to optimize with Drools Planner, take a look at the official problem suite.

For example, there’s the Fast Food Optimization problem:

The fastfood chain Mc Burger owns several restaurants along a highway. Recently, they have decided to build several depots along the highway, each one located at a restaurant and supplying several of the q restaurants with the needed ingredients. Each of the restaurants will be supplied by the nearest depot. If two or more depots are equidistantly nearest to a restaurant, it is supplied by exactly one of these. Naturally, the depots should be placed so that the average distance between a restaurant and its assigned depot is minimized, or equivalently that the sum of supply distances is minimized.

If you’re not too keen on fast food (like me), just mentally replace the words *fast food restaurant* by the words *grocery store*, *IT shop* or *beer pub*.

The simplified Packing problem reminds me of playing Tetris as a kid:

Given a rectangular area of a known dimension and a set of squares, each of which has a known dimension, the problem is to pack all the squares into the rectangular area such that no two squares overlap each other. There can be wasted spaces in the rectangular area.

The deadline is 25-FEB-2011. I don’t have time to compete in the competition, but if your sources are on github or gitorius and you add a link in the comments below, I might offer some design/code suggestions. So, are you up for a planning challenge?