In the last decade, Artificial Intelligence (AI) processing has received increasing attention, involving a wide spectrum of scientific and technological areas. Two main high-level languages have emerged as the most broadly used for Al applications: Prolog among the logic languages and Lisp among the functional languages. Both have created a demand for research on dedicated architectures able to support high performance non-numerical processing. VLSI microelectronics technology has played, and continues to play, a vital role in the developments, since it offers the possibility of concentrating a tremendous computation capability in compact, low cost, fast devices. This book describes the design of a VLSI Prolog processor, starting from the language execution model down to the abstract machine and the physical implementation. Each design stage is analyzed by performing quantitative evaluations of the influence of the architectural choices on the overall performance. Moreover, the state of the art on Prolog machines is described as reference for the adopted solutions. Special care has been taken in the description of the execution model, derived from the Warren Abstract Machine, and in the analysis of the design methodology developed for this application. If silicon compilation techniques are used, the design methodology becomes a general method for the synthesis of High Level Language processors. In this environment all the problems related to the VLSI implementation are analyzed and discussed in terms of costs and performance.
Publisher: Elsevier Science & Technology
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