The Algebra of Logic Programming

Silvija Seres

At present, the field of declarative programming is split into two main areas based on different formalisms; namely, functional programming, which is based on lambda calculus, and logic programming, which is based on first-order logic. There are currently several language proposals for integrating the expressiveness of these two models of computation. In this thesis we work towards an integration of the methodology from the two research areas. To this end, we propose an algebraic approach to reasoning about logic programs, corresponding to the approach taken in functional programming.

In the first half of the thesis we develop and discuss a framework which forms the basis for our algebraic analysis and transformation methods. The framework is based on an embedding of definite logic programs into lazy functional programs in Haskell, such that both the declarative and the operational semantics of the logic programs are preserved.

In spite of its conciseness and apparent simplicity, the embedding proves to have many interesting properties and it gives rise to an algebraic semantics of logic programming. It also allows us to reason about logic programs in a simple calculational style, using rewriting and the algebraic laws of combinators. In the embedding, the meaning of a logic program arises compositionally from the meaning of its constituent subprograms and the combinators that connect them.

In the second half of the thesis we explore applications of the embedding to the algebraic transformation of logic programs. A series of examples covers simple program derivations, where our techniques simplify some of the current techniques. Another set of examples explores applications of the more advanced program development techniques from the Algebra of Programming by Bird and de Moor, where we expand the techniques currently available for logic program derivation and optimisation.