Published online by Cambridge University Press: 03 April 2001
Infinite loops and redundant computations are long recognized open problems in Prolog. Two methods have been explored to resolve these problems: loop checking and tabling. Loop checking can cut infinite loops, but it cannot be both sound and complete even for function-free logic programs. Tabling seems to be an effective way to resolve infinite loops and redundant computations. However, existing tabulated resolutions, such as OLDT-resolution, SLG-resolution and Tabulated SLS-resolution, are non-linear because they rely on the solution-lookup mode in formulating tabling. The principal disadvantage of non-linear resolutions is that they cannot be implemented using a simple stack-based memory structure like that in Prolog. Moreover, some strictly sequential operators such as cuts may not be handled as easily as in Prolog. In this paper, we propose a hybrid method to resolve infinite loops and redundant computations. We combine the ideas of loop checking and tabling to establish a linear tabulated resolution called TP-resolution. TP-resolution has two distinctive features: (1) it makes linear tabulated derivations in the same way as Prolog except that infinite loops are broken and redundant computations are reduced. It handles cuts as effectively as Prolog; and (2) it is sound and complete for positive logic programs with the bounded-term-size property. The underlying algorithm can be implemented by an extension to any existing Prolog abstract machines such as WAM or ATOAM.