Hassan Aït-Kaci and Roberto Di Cosmo. Compiling order-sorted feature term unification. TN 7, Digital Equipment Corporation, December 1993.

Order-sorted feature (OSF) terms generalize first-order rational terms: functors become partially ordered sorts, arity is unconstrained, and subterms are unordered, indicated by explicit feature symbols rather than implicit positions. Thus, OSF terms provide a handy data structure to represent objects in symbolic programming languages. LIFE is such an experimental language extending Prolog by replacing its term data structure and unification operation with OSF term and unification. In this paper, we present an abstract machine design for OSF term unification. This compiling scheme consists of an alteration of recent refinements of WAM technology for compiling Prolog's unification. Our modifications account for order-sortedness, symbolic features, and absence of arity. Then, we improve that design by incorporating several immediate optimizations.

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