Turbo Prolog

Discussions on programming older machines

Turbo Prolog

Postby Vorticon » Sat Dec 26, 2009 2:29 pm

As I was leafing through the Turbo Pascal 3.0 manual, I came across an Ad about Turbo Prolog. I was intrigued enough to do a quick web search and was able to download Turbo Prolog 1.1 which seems to run just fine on the PCjr. I also found the original manual on ebay and grabbed it.
Has anyone here ever tried Prolog before? It is advertised as "the natural language of artificial intelligence", which sounded a bit grandiose to me...

Walid
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Re: Turbo Prolog

Postby hyperfrog » Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:45 pm

Vorticon wrote:Has anyone here ever tried Prolog before? It is advertised as "the natural language of artificial intelligence", which sounded a bit grandiose to me...


I used Prolog for a computational linguistics course I attended at university. It is well-suited to program parsers for natural languages, among other things. It falls in the category of logic languages, and it is not easy to grasp at first, especially when you are used to structured procedural or object-oriented programming. You don't tell the computer how to solve the problem; instead, you define goals, and the computer tries to find solutions. It is based on an inference engine that is kind of CPU-demanding when the problem to solve is complex. It is fun to use, though, and if you have an inclination for logic, I can only encourage you to look at it.

I didn't know about Turbo Prolog, but will try to find it. I'm curious about seeing how "fast" it runs on a 8088...

Cheers,

Christian
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Re: Turbo Prolog

Postby MattCarp » Sat Jul 17, 2010 2:03 pm

Walid- is Turbo Prolog public domain? If so, please post a link. I had a copy back in the day, but didn't do anything with it.

I did some light TP, which I felt was the perfect language to use back then - fast, compiled, good constructs (strongly typed), and the ability to access the hardware (with a little inline assembly if you'd like).
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Re: Turbo Prolog

Postby hyperfrog » Sat Jul 17, 2010 3:45 pm

MattCarp wrote:is Turbo Prolog public domain?

Probably not.

MattCarp wrote:If so, please post a link.


Use the force (AKA Google). Hint: "turboprolog.zip" may or may not yield interesting results.

MattCarp wrote:I did some light TP, which I felt was the perfect language to use back then - fast, compiled, good constructs (strongly typed), and the ability to access the hardware (with a little inline assembly if you'd like).


Turbo Pascal and Turbo Prolog are two completely different beasts. Forget everything you know about procedural programming and open your mind to a new programming paradigm. Only then will your spirit enter the superior dimension of logic solving, and find eternal peace... or grief.

Cheers,

Christian
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Re: Turbo Prolog

Postby MattCarp » Mon Jul 19, 2010 7:47 pm

I'm totally game:

I did use an AI environment in the mid-90s, the Aion Development System from Trinzic (which was later bought by Computer Associates). Once I understood the model, it was incredible:

You have an object model for defining data objects. You can define objects that actually represent tables of data in a database. Next, you define rules (If a then b). Finally to have the system execute something, you give the system a "goal". It would work backwards to find the minimal number of rules to execute in order to solve the goal.

The power there was that you didn't have to worry about defining the sequence of operations. The system did that. You just declared the truth.
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Re: Turbo Prolog

Postby hyperfrog » Mon Jul 19, 2010 8:32 pm

Turbo Prolog is probably not the best way to introduce yourself to Prolog. While it is certainly interesting because it can run on a first-generation PC (or even a PCjr), there are free, modern implementations. SWI-Prolog is a good one. I also used AMZI Prolog, which isn't an open source project, but is freely available and provides you with a nice environment and good documentation.

Prolog resembles the system you described. You tell it the "truth", and it strives to prove it from the facts and rules you previously put in its database, working backwards and trying every possible solution. The key here is recursion. You'll end up thinking recursively, whether you like that or not.

Prolog's lists, however, are not the most easy-to-grasp concept, and their use tends to make the code compact, but cryptic.

Have fun!
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Re: Turbo Prolog

Postby Vorticon » Mon Jul 26, 2010 4:33 pm

[quote="MattCarp"]Walid- is Turbo Prolog public domain? If so, please post a link.

Matt, contact me via private email (wmaalouli@comcast.net) and I'll email you the zip file. It's still sitting on my PCjr zip drive but have not had time to play with it although I am definitely intrigued :)

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