Published online by Cambridge University Press: 10 January 2005
Logic programming languages, such as Prolog, provide a high-level, declarative approach to programming. Logic Programming offers great potential for implicit parallelism, thus allowing parallel systems to often reduce a program's execution time without programmer intervention. We believe that for complex applications that take several hours, if not days, to return an answer, even limited speedups from parallel execution can directly translate to very significant productivity gains. It has been argued that Prolog's evaluation strategy – SLD resolution – often limits the potential of the logic programming paradigm. The past years have therefore seen widening efforts at increasing Prolog's declarativeness and expressiveness. Tabling has proved to be a viable technique to efficiently overcome SLD's susceptibility to infinite loops and redundant subcomputations. Our research demonstrates that implicit or-parallelism is a natural fit for logic programs with tabling. To substantiate this belief, we have designed and implemented an or-parallel tabling engine – OPTYap – and we used a shared-memory parallel machine to evaluate its performance. To the best of our knowledge, OPTYap is the first implementation of a parallel tabling engine for logic programming systems. OPTYap builds on Yap's efficient sequential Prolog engine. Its execution model is based on the SLG-WAM for tabling, and on the environment copying for or-parallelism. Preliminary results indicate that the mechanisms proposed to parallelize search in the context of SLD resolution can indeed be effectively and naturally generalized to parallelize tabled computations, and that the resulting systems can achieve good performance on shared-memory parallel machines. More importantly, it emphasizes our belief that through applying or-parallelism and tabling to logic programs the range of applications for Logic Programming can be increased.
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