Technical Reports (CIS)

Document Type

Technical Report

Date of this Version

September 1989


University of Pennsylvania Department of Computer and Information Science Technical Report No. MS-CIS-89-52.


A generalization of Horn clauses to a higher-order logic is described and examined as a basis for logic programming. In qualitative terms, these higher-order Horn clauses are obtained from the first-order ones by replacing first-order terms with simply typed λ-terms and by permitting quantification over all occurrences of function symbols and some occurrences of predicate symbols. Several proof-theoretic results concerning these extended clauses are presented. One result shows that although the substitutions for predicate variables can be quite complex in general, the substitutions necessary in the context of higher-order Horn clauses are tightly constrained. This observation is used to show that these higher-order formulas can specify computations in a fashion similar to first-order Horn clauses. A complete theorem proving procedure is also described for the extension. This procedure is obtained by interweaving higher-order unification with backchaining and goal reductions, and constitutes a higher-order generalization of SLD-resolution. These results have a practical realization in the higher-order logic programming language called λProlog.



Date Posted: 25 January 2008