Concept

Alma-0

Résumé
Alma-0 is a multi-paradigm computer programming language. This language is an augmented version of the imperative Modula-2 language with logic-programming features and convenient backtracking ability. It is small, strongly typed, and combines constraint programming, a limited number of features inspired by logic programming and supports imperative paradigms. The language advocates declarative programming. The designers claim that search-oriented solutions built with it are substantially simpler than their counterparts written in purely imperative or logic programming style. Alma-0 provides natural, high-level constructs for building search trees. Since the designers of Alma-0 wanted to create a distinct and substantially simpler proposal than prior attempts to integrate declarative programming constructs (such as automatic backtracking) into imperative programming, the design of Alma-0 was guided by four principles: The logic-based extension should be downward compatible with the underlying imperative programming language The logic-based extension should be upward compatible with a future extension that will support constraint programming The constructs that will implement the extension should support and encourage declarative programming The extension should be kept small: nine new features have been proposed and implemented Alma-0 can be viewed not only as a specific and concrete programming language proposal, but also as an example of a generic method for extending any imperative programming language with features that support declarative programming. The feasibility of the Alma-0 approach has been demonstrated through a full implementation of the language (including a description of its semantics) for a subset of Modula-2. The implemented features in Alma-0 include: Use of boolean expressions as statements and vice versa A dual for the FOR statement that introduces non-determinism in the form of choice points and backtracking A FORALL statement that introduces a controlled form of iteration over the backtracking Unification which, although limited to the use of equality as assignment, yields a new parameter-passing mechanism.
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