Bijective Term Encodings

Paul Tarau

We encode/decode Prolog terms as unique natural numbers. Our encodings have the following properties: a) are bijective b) natural numbers always decode to syntactically valid terms c) they work in low polynomial time in the bitsize of the representations d) the bitsize of our encodings is within constant factor of the syntactic representation of the input. We describe encodings of term algebras with finite signature as well as algorithms that separate the "structure" of a term, a natural number encoding of a list of balanced parenthesis, from its "content", a list of atomic terms and Prolog variables. The paper is organized as a literate Prolog program available from \url{http://logic.cse.unt.edu/tarau/research/2011/bijenc.pl}.

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