## Implementation Considerations for Higher-Order Features in Logic Programming (1993)

Citations: | 14 - 10 self |

### BibTeX

@TECHREPORT{Nadathur93implementationconsiderations,

author = {Gopalan Nadathur and Bharat Jayaraman and Debra Sue Wilson},

title = {Implementation Considerations for Higher-Order Features in Logic Programming},

institution = {},

year = {1993}

}

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### OpenURL

### Abstract

This paper examines implementation problems that arise from providing for aspects of higher-order programming within and enhancing the meta-language abilities of logic programming. One issue of concern is a representation for the simply-typed lambda terms that replace the usual first-order terms as data structures; this representation must support an efficient realization of ...-conversion operations on these terms. Another issue is the handling of higher-order unification that becomes an integral part of the computational model. An implementation must cater to the branching nature of this operation and also provide a means for temporarily suspending the solution of a unification problem. A final issue concerns the treatment of goals whose structure is not statically apparent. These problems are discussed in detail and solutions to them are described. A representation for lambda terms is presented that uses the de Bruijn "nameless" notation and also permits reduction substitutions to be performed lazily. This notation obviates ...-conversion and also supports an efficient implementation of ...-reduction. Branching in unification is implemented by using a depth-first search strategy with backtracking. A structure that is called a branch point record and is akin to the choice point record of the Warren Abstract Machine (WAM) is described for remembering alternatives in unification. An explicit representation for unification problems is presented that permits sharing and also supports the rapid reinstatement of earlier versions of the problem. The implementation of unification is tuned to yield an efficient solution to first-order like problems, in fact through the use of compiled code as in the WAM. A compilation method is also discussed for goals whose structure changes during execution. Th...