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Title: On hereditary Harrop formulae as a basis for logic programming
Author: Harland, James
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1991
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This thesis examines the use of first-order hereditary Harrop formulae, a generalisation of Horn clauses due to Miller, as a foundation for logic programming. As this framework is constructive, this will sometimes dictate an approach which differs slightly from the traditional (classical) one. We discuss the foundational problems involved in adding negation to the framework of first-order hereditary Harrop formulae, including the role of the Negation as Failure (NAF) rule and the Closed World Assumption (CWA) in a constructive setting, and introduce the notion of a completely defined predicate. This notion may be used to define a notion of NAF for a more general class of goals than literals. We also discuss the possibilities for forms of negation other than NAF, and explore the relationships between NAF and more explicit forms. Clark's completion of a program is often used in this context, and we show how a more explicit version of the completion may be given in hereditary Harrop formulae. We may think of the completion as specifying a theory in which an atom A fails if A hskip 0.5cm, and hence is an explicit axiomatisation of failure, which in our case is more computationally meaningful than Clark's completion. The problem of finding answer substitutions for existentially quantified negated goals requires more powerful techniques than unification alone, and so we give an algorithm which is suitable for this purpose, and show how it may be incorporated into the goal reduction process. A constructive framework necessitates a different approach to model theory, and we give a Kripke-like model for the extended class of programs for which negation is implemented by the Negation as Failure rule. This is based on the model theory developed by Miller for hereditary Harrop formulae. No restriction on the class of programs is used, which requires some departures from the usual Tw process, but the spirit of the construction remains the same.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available