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Efficient groundness analysis in Prolog

Howe, J. M. & King, A. (2003). Efficient groundness analysis in Prolog. Theory and Practice of Logic Programming, 3(1), pp. 95-124. doi: 10.1017/s1471068402001485


Boolean functions can be used to express the groundness of, and trace grounding dependencies between, program variables in (constraint) logic programs. In this paper, a variety of issues pertaining to the efficient Prolog implementation of groundness analysis are investigated, focusing on the domain of definite Boolean functions, Def. The systematic design of the representation of an abstract domain is discussed in relation to its impact on the algorithmic complexity of the domain operations; the most frequently called operations should be the most lightweight. This methodology is applied to Def, resulting in a new representation, together with new algorithms for its domain operations utilising previously unexploited properties of Def – for instance, quadratic-time entailment checking. The iteration strategy driving the analysis is also discussed and a simple, but very effective, optimisation of induced magic is described. The analysis can be implemented straightforwardly in Prolog and the use of a non-ground representation results in an efficient, scalable tool which does not require widening to be invoked, even on the largest benchmarks. An extensive experimental evaluation is given.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: abstract interpretation, groundness analysis, definite Boolean functions, fix-point algorithms
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Computer Science
SWORD Depositor:
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