A scheme for dynamically integrating C library functions into a $\lambda$Prolog implementation

Duanyang Jing

The Teyjus system realizes the higher-order logic programming language$\lambda$Prolog by compiling programs into bytecode for an abstract machine and executing this translated form using a simulator for the machine. Teyjus supports a number of builtin relations that are realized through C code. In the current scheme, these relations are realized by including the C programs that implement them within the simulator and tailoring the compiler to produce instructions to invoke such code. There are two drawbacks to such an approach. First, the entire collection of library functions must be included within the system, thereby leading to a larger than necessary memory footprint. Second, enhancing the collection of built-in predicates requires changing parts of the simulator and compiler, a task whose accomplishment requires specific knowledge of these two subsystems. This project addresses these problems in three steps. First, the code for the builtin functions is moved from the simulator into a library from where relevant parts, determined by information in the bytecode file, are linked into the runtime system at load time. Second, information is associated with each library function about how it can be invoked from a $\lambda$Prolog program and where the C code for it is to be found. Finally, the compiler is modified to use the preceding information to include relevant linking instructions in the bytecode file and to translate invocations to builtin relations into a special instruction that calls the dynamically linked code. More generally, these ideas are capable of supporting an interface in $\lambda$Prolog to "foreign functions" implemented in C, a possibility that is also discussed.

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