Logic programming is based on formal mathematical concepts of first order predicate logic. A logic program is a static description of the problem in the form of normalized logic statements (Horn clauses). The execution of a logic program relies on automated theorem proving. In contrast to conventional procedural languages, in which the sequence of computation is specified explicitly by control structures, in logic programs information is provided only about “what” is to be solved, not “how” it is to be solved. Hence, logic programs represent executable specifications and are well suited for fast prototyping.
The concepts of logic programming have not yet been fully realized, because of the large requirements on memory and execution time of conventional computers. The programming language Prolog is based on logic programming, but employs various additional logical features in order to be a practical programming language. Recent advances in compilation and hardware design are continuously improving the feasibility of logic-based programming languages for industrial applications.
At the BBC Research Center, the system Modula--Prolog is being used for fast prototyping and knowledge engineering. Modula--Prolog permits the arbitrary combination of Modula-2 and Prolog programs and hence utilizes the advantages of both procedural and logic programming. Modula--Prolog has been applied to the development of knowledge-based expert systems for the configuration and diagnosis of technical systems.
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