Technical Reports (CIS)

Document Type

Technical Report

Subject Area


Date of this Version

February 1988


University of Pennsylvania Department of Computer and Information Science Technical Report No. MS-CIS-88-12.


Since logic programming systems directly implement search and unification and since these operations are essential for the implementation of most theorem provers, logic programming languages should make ideal implementation languages for theorem provers. We shall argue that this is indeed the case if the logic programming language is extended in several ways. We present an extended logic programming language where first-order terms are replaced with simply-typed λ-terms, higher-order unification replaces firstorder unification, and implication and universal quantification are allowed in queries and the bodies of clauses. This language naturally specifies inference rules for various proof systems. The primitive search operations required to search for proofs generally have very simple implementations using the logical connectives of this extended logic programming language. Higher-order unification, which provides sophisticated pattern matching on formulas and proofs, can be used to determine when and at what instance an inference rule can be employed in the search for a proof. Tactics and tacticals, which provide a framework for high-level control over search, can also be directly implemented in this extended language. The theorem provers presented in this paper have been implemented in the higher-order logic programming language λProlog.



Date Posted: 21 September 2007