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Initial Report on a Lisp Programmer's Apprentice

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2 Author(s)
C. Rich ; Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology ; H. E. Shrobe

This paper reports on the initial design and partial implementation of an interactive programming environment to be used by expert programmers. The system is based on three forms of program description: 1) definition of structured data objects, their parts, properties, and relations between them, 2) input–output specification of the behavior of program segments, and 3) a hierarchical representation of the internal structure of programs (plans). The plan representation is of major theoretical interest because it includes not only data flow and control flow relationships between subsegments of a program, but also goal-subgoal, prerequisite, and other logical dependencies between the specifications of the subsegments. Plans are utilized both for describing particular programs and in the compilation of a knowledge base of more abstract knowledge about programming, such as the concept of a loop and various specializations, such as enumeration loops and search loops. We also describe a deductive system which can verify the correctness of plans involving side effects on complex data with structure sharing.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering  (Volume:SE-4 ,  Issue: 6 )