Discovering Procedural Executions of Rule-Based Programs

David Gadbois, Daniel Miranker

Executing production system programs involves directly or indirectly executing an interpretive match/select/act cycle. An optimal compilation of a production system program would generate code that requires no appeal to an interpreter to mediate control. However, while a great deal of implicit control information is available in rule-based programs, it is generally impossible to avoid deferring some decisions to run-time. We introduce an approach that may resolve this problem. We propose an execution model that permits the execution of the usual cycle when necessary and otherwise executes procedural functions. The system is best characterized as a rule rewrite system where rules are replaced with chunks, such that the chunks may have procedural components. Correctness for replacement of rules is derived by a constrained abstract evaluation of the entire program via a general-purpose theorem prover at compile time. The analysis gives a global dependency analysis of the interaction of each of the rules. For a group of popular benchmark programs, we show that there is ample opportunity to automatically substitute interpretive pattern matching with procedural elements and a concomitant improvement in performance.

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