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7. Programming languages

While any programming language can be used for artificial intelligence/life research, these are programming languages which are used extensively for, if not specifically made for, artificial intelligence programming.

Allegro CL

Franz Inc's free linux version of their lisp development environment. You can download it or they will mail you a CD free (you don't even have to pay for shipping). It is generally considered to be one of the better lisp platforms.


APRIL is a symbolic programming language that is designed for writing mobile, distributed and agent-based systems especially in an Internet environment. It has advanced features such as a macro sub-language, asynchronous message sending and receiving, code mobility, pattern matching, higher-order functions and strong typing. The language is compiled to byte-code which is then interpreted by the APRIL runtime-engine. APRIL now requires the InterAgent Communications Model (ICM) to be installed before it can be installed. [Ed. ICM can be found at the same web site]


B-Prolog is a compact and complete CLP system that runs Prolog and CLP(FD) programs. An emulator-based system, B-Prolog has a performance comparable with SICStus-Prolog.

Ciao Prolog

Ciao is a complete Prolog system subsuming ISO-Prolog with a novel modular design which allows both restricting and extending the language. Ciao extensions currently include feature terms (records), higher-order, functions, constraints, objects, persistent predicates, a good base for distributed execution (agents), and concurrency. Libraries also support WWW programming, sockets, and external interfaces (C, Java, TCL/Tk, relational databases, etc.). An Emacs-based environment, a stand-alone compiler, and a toplevel shell are also provided.


DHARMI is a high level spatial, tinker-toy like language who's components are transparently administered by a background process called the Habitat. As the name suggests, the language was designed to make modelling prototypes and handle living data. Programs can be modified while running. This is accomplished by blurring the distinction between source code, program, and data.


ECoLisp (Embeddable Common Lisp) is an implementation of Common Lisp designed for being embeddable into C based applications. ECL uses standard C calling conventions for Lisp compiled functions, which allows C programs to easily call Lisp functions and viceversa. No foreign function interface is required: data can be exchanged between C and Lisp with no need for conversion. ECL is based on a Common Runtime Support (CRS) which provides basic facilities for memory managment, dynamic loading and dumping of binary images, support for multiple threads of execution. The CRS is built into a library that can be linked with the code of the application. ECL is modular: main modules are the program development tools (top level, debugger, trace, stepper), the compiler, and CLOS. A native implementation of CLOS is available in ECL: one can configure ECL with or without CLOS. A runtime version of ECL can be built with just the modules which are required by the application. The ECL compiler compiles from Lisp to C, and then invokes the GCC compiler to produce binaries.


Esterel is both a programming language, dedicated to programming reactive systems, and a compiler which translates Esterel programs into finite-state machines. It is particularly well-suited to programming reactive systems, including real-time systems and control automata.

Only the binary is available for the language compiler. :P


Gödel is a declarative, general-purpose programming language in the family of logic programming languages. It is a strongly typed language, the type system being based on many-sorted logic with parametric polymorphism. It has a module system. Gödel supports infinite precision integers, infinite precision rationals, and also floating-point numbers. It can solve constraints over finite domains of integers and also linear rational constraints. It supports processing of finite sets. It also has a flexible computation rule and a pruning operator which generalizes the commit of the concurrent logic programming languages. Considerable emphasis is placed on Gödel's meta- logical facilities which provide significant support for meta-programs that do analysis, transformation, compilation, verification, debugging, and so on.


LIFE (Logic, Inheritance, Functions, and Equations) is an experimental programming language proposing to integrate three orthogonal programming paradigms proven useful for symbolic computation. From the programmer's standpoint, it may be perceived as a language taking after logic programming, functional programming, and object-oriented programming. From a formal perspective, it may be seen as an instance (or rather, a composition of three instances) of a Constraint Logic Programming scheme due to Hoehfeld and Smolka refining that of Jaffar and Lassez.

CLisp (Lisp)

CLISP is a Common Lisp implementation by Bruno Haible and Michael Stoll. It mostly supports the Lisp described by Common LISP: The Language (2nd edition) and the ANSI Common Lisp standard. CLISP includes an interpreter, a byte-compiler, a large subset of CLOS (Object-Oriented Lisp) , a foreign language interface and, for some machines, a screen editor.

The user interface language (English, German, French) is chosen at run time. Major packages that run in CLISP include CLX & Garnet. CLISP needs only 2 MB of memory.

CMU Common Lisp

CMU Common Lisp is a public domain "industrial strength" Common Lisp programming environment. Many of the X3j13 changes have been incorporated into CMU CL. Wherever possible, this has been done so as to transparently allow the use of either CLtL1 or proposed ANSI CL. Probably the new features most interesting to users are SETF functions, LOOP and the WITH-COMPILATION-UNIT macro.

GCL (Lisp)

GNU Common Lisp (GCL) has a compiler and interpreter for Common Lisp. It used to be known as Kyoto Common Lisp. It is very portable and extremely efficient on a wide class of applications. It compares favorably in performance with commercial Lisps on several large theorem-prover and symbolic algebra systems. It supports the CLtL1 specification but is moving towards the proposed ANSI definition. GCL compiles to C and then uses the native optimizing C compilers (e.g., GCC). A function with a fixed number of args and one value turns into a C function of the same number of args, returning one value, so GCL is maximally efficient on such calls. It has a conservative garbage collector which allows great freedom for the C compiler to put Lisp values in arbitrary registers.

It has a source level Lisp debugger for interpreted code, with display of source code in an Emacs window. Its profiling tools (based on the C profiling tools) count function calls and the time spent in each function.

GNU Prolog

GNU Prolog is a free Prolog compiler with constraint solving over finite domains developed by Daniel Diaz.

GNU Prolog accepts Prolog+constraint programs and produces native binaries (like gcc does from a C source). The obtained executable is then stand-alone. The size of this executable can be quite small since GNU Prolog can avoid to link the code of most unused built-in predicates. The performances of GNU Prolog are very encouraging (comparable to commercial systems).

Beside the native-code compilation, GNU Prolog offers a classical interactive interpreter (top-level) with a debugger.

The Prolog part conforms to the ISO standard for Prolog with many extensions very useful in practice (global variables, OS interface, sockets,...).

GNU Prolog also includes an efficient constraint solver over Finite Domains (FD). This opens contraint logic pogramming to the user combining the power of constraint programming to the declarativity of logic programming.


Mercury is a new, purely declarative logic programming language. Like Prolog and other existing logic programming languages, it is a very high-level language that allows programmers to concentrate on the problem rather than the low-level details such as memory management. Unlike Prolog, which is oriented towards exploratory programming, Mercury is designed for the construction of large, reliable, efficient software systems by teams of programmers. As a consequence, programming in Mercury has a different flavor than programming in Prolog.


The Mozart system provides state-of-the-art support in two areas: open distributed computing and constraint-based inference. Mozart implements Oz, a concurrent object-oriented language with dataflow synchronization. Oz combines concurrent and distributed programming with logical constraint-based inference, making it a unique choice for developing multi-agent systems. Mozart is an ideal platform for both general-purpose distributed applications as well as for hard problems requiring sophisticated optimization and inferencing abilities. We have developed applications in scheduling and time-tabling, in placement and configuration, in natural language and knowledge representation, multi-agent systems and sophisticated collaborative tools.

SWI Prolog

SWI is a free version of prolog in the Edinburgh Prolog family (thus making it very similar to Quintus and many other versions). With: a large library of built in predicates, a module system, garbage collection, a two-way interface with the C language, plus many other features. It is meant as a educational language, so it's compiled code isn't the fastest. Although it similarity to Quintus allows for easy porting.

XPCE is freely available in binary form for the Linux version of SWI-prolog. XPCE is an object oriented X-windows GUI development package/environment.

Kali Scheme

Kali Scheme is a distributed implementation of Scheme that permits efficient transmission of higher-order objects such as closures and continuations. The integration of distributed communication facilities within a higher-order programming language engenders a number of new abstractions and paradigms for distributed computing. Among these are user-specified load-balancing and migration policies for threads, incrementally-linked distributed computations, agents, and parameterized client-server applications. Kali Scheme supports concurrency and communication using first-class procedures and continuations. It integrates procedures and continuations into a message-based distributed framework that allows any Scheme object (including code vectors) to be sent and received in a message.


RScheme is an object-oriented, extended version of the Scheme dialect of Lisp. RScheme is freely redistributable, and offers reasonable performance despite being extraordinarily portable. RScheme can be compiled to C, and the C can then compiled with a normal C compiler to generate machine code. By default, however, RScheme compiles to bytecodes which are interpreted by a (runtime) virtual machine. This ensures that compilation is fast and keeps code size down. In general, we recommend using the (default) bytecode code generation system, and only compiling your time-critical code to machine code. This allows a nice adjustment of space/time tradeoffs. (see web site for details)

Scheme 48

Scheme 48 is a Scheme implementation based on a virtual machine architecture. Scheme 48 is designed to be straightforward, flexible, reliable, and fast. It should be easily portable to 32-bit byte-addressed machines that have POSIX and ANSI C support. In addition to the usual Scheme built-in procedures and a development environment, library software includes support for hygienic macros (as described in the Revised^4 Scheme report), multitasking, records, exception handling, hash tables, arrays, weak pointers, and FORMAT. Scheme 48 implements and exploits an experimental module system loosely derived from Standard ML and Scheme Xerox. The development environment supports interactive changes to modules and interfaces.

SCM (Scheme)

SCM conforms to the Revised^4 Report on the Algorithmic Language Scheme and the IEEE P1178 specification. Scm is written in C. It uses the following utilities (all available at the ftp site).


Shift is a programming language for describing dynamic networks of hybrid automata. Such systems consist of components which can be created, interconnected and destroyed as the system evolves. Components exhibit hybrid behavior, consisting of continuous-time phases separated by discrete-event transitions. Components may evolve independently, or they may interact through their inputs, outputs and exported events. The interaction network itself may evolve.

YAP Prolog

YAP is a high-performance Prolog compiler developed at LIACC/Universidade do Porto. Its Prolog engine is based in the WAM (Warren Abstract Machine), with several optimizations for better performance. YAP follows the Edinburgh tradition, and is largely compatible with DEC-10 Prolog, Quintus Prolog, and especially with C-Prolog. Work on the more recent version of YAP strives at several goals:

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