The results of the 4th MISC-live run

The mancoosi project announces the 4th MISC-live trial run for the MISC competition of solvers for package/component installation and upgrade problems. The motivation and general principles of the MISC competition are outlined here.

The optimisation criteria

We have three tracks. The first two are the same as for the MISC 2010 competition. All three tracks use as optimization criterion a lexicographic combination of some simple integer valued utility functions of a solution. In the first two tracks the criterion is fixed, while for the third track the precise criterion is part of the problem instance. A precise definition can be found here.

  • paranoid: we want to answer the user request, minimizing the number of packages removed in the solution, and also the packages changed by the solution;
  • trendy: we want to answer the user request, minimizing the number of packages removed in the solution, minimizing the number of outdated packages in the solution, minimizing the number of package recommendations that are not satisfied, and finally minimizing the number of extra packages installed.
  • user: we want to answer the user request, and look for an optimal solution according to an optimization criterion provided by the user. The criterion is given by a list of utility functions taken from a fixed list of possible functions, together with a polarity (maximize or minimize) for each of them.

Note: the utility function for counting not satisfied recommends is called unsat_recommends (this was confused on the web pages of MISC-live #3).

Ranking of Solvers

This has changed since MISC 2010: the former two classes FAIL and ABORT have been merged into one. The updated specification of the ranking algorithm can be found here.

The execution environment

is the same as for MISC 2010. Here is the exact description. We have now made some points of the description (concerning the invocation of java, and the signal sent before the timeout) more precise.

Organization of the 3rd MISC-live run

The timeline is:

Potential participants are invited to announce to the organisers their intention to participate as soon as possible. There is no separate deadline for this.

Submission of SolversFriday, 25 February, 2011, 23h59 UT
Announcement of ResultsFriday, 11 March, 2011

Special offer for early submitters: As always, participants are invited to submit early, so that we can iron out as early as possible all oddities due to the execution environment, etc. For all submissions that we receive by Monday, February 21, we offer to run the submitted solver on our infrastructure on a small selection of problems from MISC-Live #3, and to make the results of these available to the submitter.

The guidelines for submitting solvers are the same as for MISC 2010, and are repeated in detail here. Note, however, that we insist on both a one-line short description of the solver, and the URL of an existing web page describing the solver. Participants not providing either of these will not be included in the MISC-live run.

The organizers can be contacted by email to



  • 2011/02/11: The execution environment is a debian squeeze system, with python version 2.6.*, and Sun Java.

Links to important resources