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HELP CONTEXT                                   Allan Ramsay, 31 October 1983.

    lib context;

LIB CONTEXT provides facilities for saving and restoring the values of a
set of global variables so that the state of a computation may be saved
and later resumed. The following procedures are provided:

--- REGISTERS <var1> ... <varN> ; --------------------------------------

declares a set of global variables whose values may be saved to be
reinstated later. These "variables" are in fact 0-ary operators, so that
whilst you can assign to them and access their values just as if they were
ordinary variables, you CANNOT use them as local variables in procedure

--- FORK; --------------------------------------------------------------

saves a copy of the current context (i.e. the values of all the registers
you have defined) on a stack of such contexts. You can carry on working,
using the current context, until you find that you are not getting
anywhere, at which point

--- REINSTATE; ---------------------------------------------------------

will reset the registers to have the values they had at the last FORK.
FORK and REINSTATE between them provide chronological backtracking, in
that the context that gets restored when you reach a failure is always the
last one that was saved. If you want to be able to make informed decisions
about what to restore after a failure you should use SPLIT and RESTART.

--- SPLIT -> X; --------------------------------------------------------

will put a copy of the current context in X, for you to save for later,
e.g. in a table of [<pattern> <context>] pairs. Then when you subsequently
get a failure you can look at your saved contexts, choose one, and use

--- RESTART(<context>); ------------------------------------------------

to reset the registers as they were when the context was saved.

--- NEW_STATES; --------------------------------------------------------

will clear the stack of saved contexts and reset all the registers to be
"undef". This MUST be done before the first time you attempt to access or
assign to any registers, or you will get a MISHAP.

You may find that you want to inspect the value of a register in some
context other then the current one, e.g. in an ATN parser you may need to
inspect the value of some register in the context that you used for
constructing a subtree. You can do this with

<context> @ <register> ;


    registers category parent;   ;;; declares category and parent as registers
    "S" -> category;             ;;; sets value of category
    split -> parent;             ;;; saves current state as value of parent
    "NP" -> category;            ;;; resets value of category
    category =>                  ;;; what's its value in the current context ?
    ** NP
    parent @ category =>         ;;; what's its value in the previous context ?
    ** S
    restart(parent);             ;;; reinstate previous context
    category =>                  ;;; value of category ?
    ** S
    parent =>                    ;;; original value of parent ?
    ** undef