Seven Languages in Seven Weeks: Prolog Day 1

Last time I presented you some of the answers I came up with for the Ruby problems in Seven Seven Languages in Seven Weeks. Today we are going to be looking at Prolog. Prolog is a very different beast, the programming paradigm is logic based.

In Prolog, rather than defining some instructions on how to solve a problem (like in imperative programming languages), you declare a set of facts and rules. You declare what is true, rather than what to do.

You can then use the Prolog inference engine to run queries over those rules and facts. While the sample answers for day one may seem more like running queries on a database than programming, Prolog is indeed a full fledged programming language.

Here are my solutions to day one’s problems:

Make a simple knowledge base containing books and their authors.

book_author(agilePatterns, uncleBob).

book_author(cleanCode, uncleBob).

book_author(sevenLanguages, bruceTate).

book_author(lordOfTheRings, tolkien).

Find all books written by a specific author (for fun I also checked to see if uncleBob was the author of agilePatterns and lordOfTheRings, also who was the author of sevenLanguages).

| ?- book_author(agilePatterns, uncleBob).

| ?- book_author(lordOfTheRings, uncleBob).

| ?- book_author(X, uncleBob).             

X = agilePatterns ? ;

X = cleanCode ? ;

| ?- book_author(sevenLanguages, X).

X = bruceTate


Make a knowledge base containing musicians, their instruments and which genre of music they play.

musician(clapton, guitar).

musician(hendrix, guitar).

musician(collins, drums).

musician(mangini, drums).

musician(wilson, vocals).

musician(watts, drums).

genre(clapton, blues).

genre(hendrix, rock).

genre(collins, rock).

genre(mangini, metal).

genre(wilson, prog).

genre(watts, rock).

genre_instrument(X, Y) :- genre(Z, X), musician(Z, Y). 

Find all guitarists.

| ?- musician(X, guitar).

X = clapton ? ;

X = hendrix ? ;


I also made a genre_instrument rule to find all instruments used for a particular genre. You can use it likewise:

| ?- genre_instrument(rock, X).

X = guitar ? ;

X = drums ? ;

X = drums


Because of unification all rules can be used to query for different information by changing the variables. For example, I could also use the same rule to query all genres that use drums:

| ?- genre_instrument(X, drums).

X = rock ? ;

X = metal ? ;

X = rock


Or to get all possible combinations:

| ?- genre_instrument(X, Y).

X = blues
Y = guitar ? ;

X = rock
Y = guitar ? ;

X = rock
Y = drums ? ;

X = metal
Y = drums ? ;

X = prog
Y = vocals ? ;

X = rock
Y = drums


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