Building models through formal specification.
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Over the past years, a number of increasingly expressive languages for modelling constraint and optimisation problems have evolved. In developing a strategy to ease the complexity of building models for constraint and optimisation problems, we have asked ourselves whether, for modelling purposes, it is really necessary to introduce more new languages and notations. We have analyzed several emerging languages and formal notations and found (to our surprise) that the already existing Z notation, although not previously used in this context, proves to a high degree expressive, adaptable, and useful for the construction of problem models. To substantiate these claims, we have both compiled a large number of constraint and optimisation problems as formal Z specifications and translated models from a variety of constraint languages into Z. The results are available as an online library of model specifications, which we make openly available to the modelling community.