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Prolog: the standard. Reference manual. (English) Zbl 0844.68017
Berlin: Springer-Verlag. xv, 272 p. (1996).
The present book is the first reference manual of the ISO international standard on the programming language Prolog, called hereafter Standard Prolog. This is the result of ten years (1985-1995) of international discussions and analyses on the Prolog language (various) semantics and implementations. The proposed Standard Prolog is a version of Prolog which makes plain what experts had known but (sometimes) not expressed, its semantics being based on the abstract (not the concrete) language syntax.
The book contains a full description of Standard Prolog, together with an executable specification (available by anonymous ftp). The (printed part of the) book is organized as follows: The first four chapters present an introduction to basic and auxiliary concepts of the Prolong language, necessary to understand its semantics. The main features exposed are: term structures, the unification, and the execution model, explaining clearly the notions of nondeterminism (viewed as the multiplicity of solutions), backtracking, and the Prolog execution model (i.e. Prolog control). Chapter 5 is devoted to the description of the Standard Prolog primitives, consisting of 112 built-in predicates in alphabetical order. Each predicate is described in a self-explanatory manner, on a single page, facilitating readability and understanding. The remaining chapters (6-11) deal with particular (but also important) aspects of Standard Prolog: arithmetic functors (corresponding to already standardized Language Independent Arithmetic), flags and directives, syntax, and useful hints how to write portable Prolog programs.
The non-printed part of the book is the executable specification package (available on the ftp server of Springer-Verlag), containing a complete description of the Standard Prolog syntax, all the built-in predicates, all the examples discussed by the standardizers and some more. The runnable specification is a (not optimized) simulation of Standard Prolog execution model, can be run on most existing standard processors, and allows to be tested a lot of examples and benchmarks.
Standard Prolog is the first logic programming language to be standardized, and the first Prolog dialect to be described with such a precision. The present book represents a significant step in improving the industrial strength of Prolog, providing a real help to comprehending, teaching, learning, implementing and disseminating powerful, standardized interpreters and compilers for Standard Prolog languages.
Reviewer: N.Curteanu (Iaşi)

MSC:
68N17 Logic programming
68N15 Theory of programming languages
68T99 Artificial intelligence
68-00 General reference works (handbooks, dictionaries, bibliographies, etc.) pertaining to computer science
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