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REF PROLOG Simon Nichols & Robert Duncan, July 1987 Revised Simon Nichols, October 1990 COPYRIGHT University of Sussex 1993. All Rights Reserved. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< THE PROLOG SYSTEM >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< This REF file describes aspects of the implemention of the Prolog Subsystem in Poplog. CONTENTS - (Use <ENTER> g to access required sections) 1 The Prolog Memory Area 1.1 The Continuation Stack 1.2 The Trail 2 Prolog Datatypes 3 Accessing Clauses 4 Variable Instantiation and Unification 5 Prolog VM Instructions 5.1 Backtracking 5.2 Unification 6 Invoking Prolog 7 Variable Declarations ------------------------- 1 The Prolog Memory Area ------------------------- In addition to the heap, the user stack and the call stack, Poplog maintains an extra area of memory exclusively for the use of Prolog. This contains two extra Prolog stacks: the continuation stack and the trail. This area of memory, like the others, is dynamic, and so will be expanded as required; a maximum limit for its expansion is set by the variable pop_prolog_lim (and a trace of its size and usage can be got by assigning the value 2:1000 (8) to the variable popgctrace -- see REF * SYSTEM). The size of the area can also be set explicitly with the variable pop_prolog_size. (NOTE, however, that the size of the prolog area cannot be changed (either automatically or with pop_prolog_size) during callback from external functions -- the section Restrictions on Operations Inside Callback: Prolog in REF * EXTERNAL explains this.) pop_prolog_lim -> nwords [variable] nwords -> pop_prolog_lim The integer value of this variable controls the maximum number of Poplog words to which the system will expand the area used for the continuation stack and trail (default value 16000). When this limit is reached, the mishap 'MEMORY LIMIT (pop_prolog_lim) EXCEEDED' occurs. However, assigning too large a value to pop_prolog_lim can also result in the mishap 'ROM: NO MORE MEMORY AVAILABLE (needing prolog area space)' indicating that there is no more memory available from the operating system for the prolog area. In all current implementations the prolog area is actually maintained in the same region as the call stack, which means that too high usage of space in the latter can prevent expansion of the prolog area. See the discussion under pop_callstack_lim in REF * PROCEDURE, and also popmemlim in REF * SYSTEM. pop_prolog_size -> nwords [variable] nwords -> pop_prolog_size This (active) variable returns the size of the prolog area in Poplog words, or sets it to a new size. When setting, if nwords is greater than the current size and the system is unable to fulfil the request due to insufficient memory, the NO MORE MEMORY AVAILABLE mishap (described above) results. If the request succeeds, pop_prolog_lim is increased as necessary, i.e. max(nwords, pop_prolog_lim) -> pop_prolog_lim If nwords is smaller than the minimum required for the current contents of the area, then the size is set to the minimum. 1.1 The Continuation Stack --------------------------- The execution model used by Poplog Prolog is that of "continuation passing", described fully in DOC * CONTINUATION. In this technique, procedures are given an additional argument called a continuation. The continuation is a closure which describes whatever computation needs to be performed once the called procedure has successfully finished its computation: the procedure invokes the continuation rather than returning. The usefulness of this model is that it enables us to implement success and failure in terms of whether or not a procedure call returns. If the procedure successfully completes its computation, it invokes its continuation; if it fails, it returns. Consider the following Prolog procedure: p(X) :- q(X), r(X). p(X) :- s(X). In the continuation passing model, it could be represented (in theory) by the following Pop-11 procedure, where C represents the continuation passed to p: define p(X, C); q(X, r(% X, C%)); s(X, C); enddefine; A call of this procedure can be interpreted as meaning: Prove p(X) and if it is true, do the continuation C. This is accomplished by passing to q both X and a continuation which, if q succeeds, passes X and the original continuation C across to r. If r succeeds, C will be invoked. If q or r fails, q will eventually return (i.e. backtracking will have occurred). In that case, X and C will be passed to s. If s succeeds it will call C; if it fails it will return, and p will fail. The continuation passing model is the model of Prolog that users are expected to have, and Pop-11/Prolog mixed-language code is normally written in terms of it (see prolog_unifyc, below). However, the real Prolog implementation does not pass continuation closures as arguments, but instead makes use of a dedicated stack - the continuation stack. Before a procedure is called, a number of items which form its continuation are pushed onto this stack. Essentially what happens is that for a procedure which is the compiled form of a clause with N terms in its body, N - 1 sets of items are pushed onto the continuation stack. These correspond to the second up to the Nth terms. Each set consists of a count of the number of items pushed (which is equal to one more than the number of arguments to be passed to the procedure) the procedure and any arguments. These are pushed in the following order (assuming M arguments): count (M + 1) <-- top of continuation stack argument 1 ... argument M procedure After each set consisting of count, arguments and procedure has been pushed, the procedure corresponding to the first term in the body of the clause is called. A Pop-11 procedure which more closely represents the Prolog procedure above is thus: define p(X); PLOG_SAVE; prolog_push_continuation(X, r, 2); q(X); PLOG_RESTORE; s(X); PLOG_RESTORE; enddefine; PLOG_SAVE and PLOG_RESTORE are hypothetical syntax words which correspond to the VM instructions sysPLOG_SAVE and sysPLOG_RESTORE. These instructions create a choice (backtrack) point (see below). prolog_push_continuation is a system procedure and is not for general use. The continuation stack pointer is saved at each choice point and restored if, through backtracking, the choice point is returned to. 1.2 The Trail -------------- The trail records all assignments made to Prolog variables. It too is a stack. Variables are represented by objects of type prologvar (see below in the section on datatypes), and whenever one of these is assigned to, it is pushed onto the trail. At each choice point, a pointer to the current top of the trail is saved. Whenever the Prolog system backtracks through a choice point, the old trail pointer is restored and any variables pushed onto the trail after that point are reset to be undefined. Another effect of backtracking is to free prologvars which are no longer accessible to active procedures. A free-list of prologvars is maintained for this purpose: once backtracking has returned past the point at which a prologvar was first created, it is put back onto the free-list for later re-use. The garbage collector can short-circuit some of this variable collection: when it sweeps the trail, if it encounters a prologvar which has no outstanding choice points between the point of its creation and the point of its most recent instantiation, then it will collect that prologvar as garbage. This is safe, because if ever backtracking should return to the point where the variable was instantiated, it must also pass the point at which it was created and so free the variable for re-use. This means that the variable will never be rebound in the remainder of its lifetime, and so is effectively a constant. When the garbage collector collects the variable, it dereferences it first, and any reachable references to it are overwritten with its dereferenced value. This process saves time on backtracking and compacts the space used by the trail and by Prolog data structures in the heap. prolog_barrier_apply(p) [procedure] Applies the procedure p in such a way as to isolate it from any outstanding invocations of Prolog procedures. This is done by placing "barriers" on the Prolog continuation stack and trail which serve to mark the beginning of the Prolog area accessible to p; any existing trailed variables or outstanding choice points become invisible to p. This is of importance when using Prolog in conjunction with the Poplog process mechanism. If the situation arises where several live processes are all using Prolog procedures, the barriers serve to divide up the Prolog area correctly between them, marking those parts of the continuation stack and trail which need to be saved and restored with each process. The standard entry points into Prolog (such as prolog_compile and prolog_invoke, defined when the Prolog system is loaded) call this procedure internally and so are safe for general use. However, whenever a process is created which calls lower-level Prolog operations explicitly (such as prolog_assign, prolog_unify etc.) then prolog_barrier_apply should be called as the first action when that process is run. prolog_reset() [procedure] Reinitialises the Prolog memory area, and the prologvar free-list and variable numbering. This must be done whenever a Prolog computation terminates abnormally. The procedure setpop always runs prolog_reset. ------------------- 2 Prolog Datatypes ------------------- Poplog provides two special datatypes for Prolog support. The datatype PROLOGVAR is used to represent variables in Prolog terms. The structure of a prologvar is identical to that of a reference (see REF * RECORDS), with a single field containing the value of the variable (an uninstantiated prologvar has itself as its value). The class of prologvars is special however, as extra support is needed for their efficient allocation and garbage collection and for management of the trail (see the description of the trail above). There is no direct access available to the contents of a prologvar except via fast_cont; in normal usage, prolog variables should only be manipulated by the higher-level procedures prolog_deref, prolog_assign and similar which take proper account of their special requirements. The datatype PROLOGTERM represents general complex terms in Prolog. A prologterm is characterised by a functor (which is a word) and a set of arguments, where the number of arguments (the arity) is variable. Currently a prologterm is an ordinary vectorclass object whose class_subscr procedure is prolog_arg_nd (see REF * KEYS), but this does not give proper access to the functor part of a term and may be changed in later versions of Poplog. These datatypes, together with the integers, are sufficient for the representation of all pure Prolog data. The existing Prolog system though is more liberal in its interpretation of data both for efficiency and to simplify the interface between Prolog and other Poplog languages. Thus the following special cases are made: # Prolog terms with functor "./2" are represented as Poplog pairs so that lists in Prolog are the same as lists in Pop-11 (see REF * LISTS); # Prolog atoms, which could be modelled as prologterms with arity 0, are in fact represented more simply as words; # all other Poplog datatypes are legal in Prolog, but are treated as atomic; i.e. they cannot be decomposed into parts. Like ordinary atoms, these atomic objects can be considered as terms with no arguments. When handling Prolog data, it is important to keep in mind this special interpretation imposed by the Prolog system. In the following list of procedures, those which begin with "prolog_" respect that interpretation and so are recommended for general use; the remaining procedures operate on the concrete datatypes prologterm and prologvar and must be used with care. An extra level of complexity is added when variables are included in terms. Data structures built by Prolog will typically contain chains of variables, and to obtain the true structure it is necessary to remove these chains by dereferencing. The basic procedure to use for this is prolog_deref which will follow a chain of prologvars and return the common value to which they are all bound; prolog_full_deref will remove all the variable chains from a term. Standard procedures which access parts of Prolog terms are provided with dereferencing built in, as this is the generally more useful behaviour. Raw, non-dereferencing versions are also available however, and such procedures are indicated by the suffix "_nd" in their names. consprologterm(word, n) -> prologterm [procedure] Constructs and returns a prologterm with functor word and arity n, the arguments being taken from the next n items on the stack. destprologterm(prologterm) [procedure] Destructs prologterm, leaving its arguments, its functor and its arity on the stack (i.e. it does the opposite of consprologterm). initprologterm(n) -> prologterm [procedure] Creates and returns a prologterm with functor undef and arity n, and whose arguments are all initialised to 0. isprologterm(item) -> bool [procedure] Returns <true> if item is a prologterm, <false> if not. isprologvar(item) -> bool [procedure] Returns <true> if item is a prologvar, <false> if not. prolog_appargs(item, p) [procedure] Applies the procedure p to each dereferenced prolog argument of item in turn (cf. prolog_appargs_nd). prolog_appargs_nd(item, p) [procedure] Applies the procedure p to each prolog argument of item, without dereferencing (cf. prolog_appargs). prolog_arg(n, term) -> item [procedure] Dereferences and returns the Nth argument of the pair or prologterm term (cf. prolog_arg_nd). n must be less than or equal to the arity of term. prolog_arg_nd(n, term) -> item [procedure] item -> prolog_arg_nd(n, term) Returns or updates the Nth argument of the pair or prologterm term without dereferencing (cf. prolog_arg). n must be less than or equal to the arity of term. prolog_args(item) [procedure] Puts all the dereferenced prolog arguments of item onto the stack (cf. prolog_args_nd). A call of this procedure is equivalent to prolog_appargs(item, identfn) prolog_args_nd(item) [procedure] Puts all the prolog arguments of item onto the stack without dereferencing them (cf. prolog_args). A call of this procedure is equivalent to prolog_appargs_nd(item, identfn) prolog_arity(item) -> n [procedure] Returns the prolog arity n of item; if item is not a pair or a prologterm then n will be 0. prolog_checkspec(item_1, item_2, n) -> bool [procedure] Returns <true> if item_1, interpreted as a prolog term, has functor item_2 and arity n; returns <false> otherwise. If item_1 is a prologterm, then item_2 and n must be the real functor and arity of that term; if item_1 is a pair, then item_2 must be the word "." and n must be 2; for any other item_1, item_2 must be identically equal to item_1 and n must be 0. prolog_complexterm(item) -> bool [procedure] Returns <true> if item is either a pair or a prologterm, <false> if not. prolog_deref(item_1) -> item_2 [procedure] If item_1 is a prologvar it is dereferenced and its value returned; any other item is simply returned. Dereferencing does not extend to any sub-components of (the dereferenced value of) item_1 (cf. prolog_full_deref). prolog_full_deref(item_1) -> item_2 [procedure] Returns a fully dereferenced version of item_1, such that the only prologvars remaining in item_2 are uninstantiated ones. Any sub-components of item_1 which contain prologvars will be copied during the dereferencing, but other, non-variable components may not be. prolog_functor(item_1) -> item_2 [procedure] word -> prolog_functor(prologterm) When used as an accessor, returns the prolog functor of item_1. If item_1 is a prologterm, then its real functor (a word) is returned; if item_1 is a pair, then the word "." is returned; if item_1 is any other datatype, then the item itself is returned. When used as an updater, prolog_functor works only on prologterms; there are few circumstances in which changing the functor of a term can be justified. prolog_maketerm(item_1, n) -> item_2 [procedure] Creates and returns a term with prolog functor item_1 and prolog arity n, the arguments being taken from the next n items on the stack. If n is 0 then item_1 is returned; if item_1 is the word "." and n is 2, then a pair is returned; otherwise item_1 must be a word and a prologterm is returned (cf. consprologterm). prolog_newvar() -> prologvar [procedure] Creates and returns a new, uninstantiated prologvar. prolog_termspec(item_1) -> n -> item_2 [procedure] Returns the prolog arity and the prolog functor of item_1. If item_1 is a prologterm then n and item_2 will be the real arity and functor of the term; if item_1 is a pair then n will be 2 and item_2 will be the word "."; otherwise n will be 0 and item_1 will be returned as item_2. prolog_undefvar(item) -> bool [procedure] Returns <true> if item is an uninstantiated prologvar, <false> if not. item is not dereferenced, so this may return <false> where isprologvar(prolog_deref(item)) would return <true>. prolog_var_number(prologvar) -> n [procedure] prolog_var_number(false) When applied to an uninstantiated prologvar, this returns some integer n. The value of n may vary between applications, but any two prologvars which are sharing will always return the same n, i.e. this procedure defines an equivalence on prologvars. (It is primarily used for generating the printing representations of variables.) When applied to the value <false>, the numbering is reset so that subsequent calls will resume counting from 1. If applied to any other datatype, <false> is returned. prologterm_key -> key [constant] The key for objects of type prologterm. prologvar_key -> key [constant] The key for objects of type prologvar. -------------------- 3 Accessing Clauses -------------------- prolog_clause(i, word, n) -> prologterm [procedure] prolog_clause(i, word, n) -> word Returns the Ith clause from the predicate with functor word and arity n. Clauses are indexed from 1. A clause is usually represented by a prologterm, except in the case of a nullary unit clause, which is represented by a word. If either the predicate or the specified clause doesn't exist, prolog_clause returns nil. ----------------------------------------- 4 Variable Instantiation and Unification ----------------------------------------- These next procedures provide for the instantiation of prologvars. This may be done explicitly via prolog_assign or implicitly through a call to the unifier. In either case, each assignment done both updates the value field of the prologvar and keeps a record of the assignment on the trail so that it may be undone if backtracking ever returns past that point. The bindings can only be undone, however, if a proper choice point has been established before the assignments are made. In fact, due to the trail compaction performed by the garbage collector (explained above), prologvars assigned to before a choice point has been established (i.e. before the first sysPLOG_SAVE has been executed) are effectively constants; they will be elided at the next garbage collection and any references to them replaced with their current values. An example demonstrates this effect: prolog_vars X; prolog_assign(X, "cat"); X => ** <prologvar cat> sysgarbage(); X => ** cat prolog_assign(prologvar, item) [procedure] Updates the value of prologvar to be item and pushes prologvar onto the trail for resetting on backtracking. No checking or dereferencing is done, so this procedure should only be used when the condition prolog_undefvar(prologvar) is true (cf. prolog_assign_check). prolog_assign_check(prologvar, item) [procedure] A checking version of prolog_assign; this performs the same operations but will mishap unless the condition prolog_undefvar(prologvar) is true. prolog_unify(item_1, item_2) -> bool [procedure] Returns <true> if item_1 unifies with item_2, <false> if not. If the unification succeeds, any prologvars in the two items will be instantiated in such a way that the condition prolog_full_deref(item_1) = prolog_full_deref(item_2) is true. If the unification fails, some or all of the prologvars in the two items may still be instantiated. In either case, instantiated variables will not be reset until the next PLOG_RESTORE is done (cf. prolog_unifyc). prolog_unifyc(item_1, item_2, p) [procedure] Attempts the unification of item_1 and item_2, and if successful calls the procedure p. (p is the continuation for the unification - see above.) A proper choice point is created for the unification using sysPLOG_SAVE and sysPLOG_RESTORE so that if p is called, any prologvars in item_1 and item_2 which are instantiated by the unification remain so for the duration of that call. Once p has returned, or if it is never invoked at all, any variable bindings created by the unification are reset before the call of prolog_unifyc itself returns. Thus a caller of this procedure will see no difference in item_1 and item_2 before and after the call. ------------------------- 5 Prolog VM Instructions ------------------------- Two distinct sets of Prolog VM instructions are provided. One works in conjunction with the continuation stack and trail to support the creation of choice points and backtracking; the other provides special purpose unification code for efficient head-matching of clauses. 5.1 Backtracking ----------------- The instruction sysPLOG_SAVE creates a choice point. A call of this procedure causes the state of the Prolog procedure being compiled to be saved on entry to that procedure. The state is represented by three variables: the continuation stack pointer, the trail pointer and a pointer to the next free Prolog variable. A call of sysPLOG_RESTORE causes these state variables to be restored to their saved values, and thus implements backtracking to the previous choice point. sysPLOG_SAVE() [protected procedure variable] Marks the procedure currently being compiled as a Prolog procedure. This ensures that the Prolog state (continuation stack pointer, trail pointer and next-free-variable pointer) will be saved on each entry to the procedure, and that appropriate portions of the Prolog memory area will be saved if ever the procedure is included as part of a process record. Only one call of this instruction has any practical effect inside a procedure, and two calls cannot be made without an intervening sysPLOG_RESTORE. sysPLOG_RESTORE() [protected procedure variable] Restores the state of the continuation stack and trail from the current saved values. The trail is unwound back to the saved position, and all the variables removed from it are reset to be undefined. The pointer to the next free variable is also restored. This procedure cannot be called without a preceding call to sysPLOG_SAVE. sysPLOG_RESTART(label) [protected procedure variable] Re-saves the state of the continuation stack and trail, and the pointer to the next free Prolog variable; then jumps to the label label. Used when a second choice point is to be set up by a procedure, e.g. when a tail-recursive call is optimised to a backward jump. 5.2 Unification ---------------- Some arguments to the Prolog VM unification instructions are QUALIFIED; that is, the interpretation of an argument (and therefore its value) depends on the value of another argument - the argument QUALIFIER. An argument qualifier may assume one of the following values: <true>, <false>, a word or an integer. The effect of these upon the argument which is qualified is as follows: Argument Effect -------- ------ <true> the item it qualifies denotes a word which is the name of a variable which needs to be pushed (using sysPUSH); <false> the item it qualifies denotes a constant which needs to pushed (using sysPUSHQ); a word which is the name of a selector procedure (e.g. fast_front) which is applied to the item it qualifies; an integer which is used to subscript the Prolog term which it qualifies. More than one argument of an instruction may be qualified (there being one qualifier per qualified argument). sysPLOG_ARG_PUSH(item, item_qualifier) [protected procedure variable] Plants code to push (on to the user stack) either item, the value of the (lexical/permanent) identifier associated with the word item, or some component of the datastructure item, depending on the value of item_qualifier (see above). sysPLOG_IFNOT_ATOM(item, item_qualifier, [protected procedure variable] atom, atom_qualifier, fail_label) Plants a PLOG_IF_NOT_ATOM instruction: this will # dereference item (qualified by item_qualifier) if it is a Prolog variable; # unify item and atom (qualified by atom_qualifier) using a restricted form of unification where atom must be an atom which does not require dereferencing; # jump to the label fail_label if the unification fails. sysPLOG_TERM_SWITCH(item, item_qualifier, [protected procedure variable] term, var_label, fail_label) Plants a PLOG_TERM_SWITCH instruction: this will # dereference item (qualified by item_qualifier) if it is a Prolog variable; # jump to the label var_label if item is an uninstantiated Prolog variable; # compare the functor of term with the functor of item otherwise, and jump to fail_label if they are different. ------------------ 6 Invoking Prolog ------------------ The Prolog system may be invoked either in top-level mode, where each term read is executed as a goal, or in assert mode, where terms are interpreted as clauses to be added into the database. prolog [macro variable] Switches subsystem from Pop-11 to Prolog top-level, autoloading the Prolog system if necessary. prolog_compile(stream) [procedure] Only available when the Prolog system is loaded, this procedure compiles Prolog program text from the character source stream. Calling prolog_compile from Pop-11 is the same as doing a reconsult from Prolog: clauses are added to the database rather than executed, and new procedure definitions supersede existing definitions of the same name. stream may be one of: # A character repeater procedure; # A string or word representing a filename (the filename "user" or 'user' is treated as a synonym for the character repeater charin); # A device record. The compiler does an initial "see" on the file it is given to make it the current input stream. ------------------------ 7 Variable Declarations ------------------------ prolog_lvars [library macro variable] Declares lexical variables initialised to uninstantiated prologvars. See HELP * PROLOG_LVARS. prolog_vars [library macro variable] Declares permanent variables initialised to uninstantiated prologvars. See HELP * PROLOG_VARS. --- C.all/ref/prolog --- Copyright University of Sussex 1993. All rights reserved.