Provides an efficient way to calculate an integer hash value for the ground term Term.
If the first argument passed to
hash_term/2 is ground, an integer
hash value corresponding to that term is calculated and returned in
the second argument. If the first argument is not ground, a new variable
is returned in the second argument.
| ?- hash_term(foo(name,2,module), H). H = 1391 | ?- hash_term(foo(X), H). X = _4734, H = _4755 | ?-
hash_term/2 is provided primarily as a tool
for the construction of sophisticated Prolog clause access schemes.
Its intended use is to generate hash values for ground terms that will
be used with first argument clause indexing, yielding compact and
efficient multi-argument or deep argument indexing.
hash_term/2 is most easily used when a known pattern of access
to a predicate is desired and both arguments of the call and arguments
of the predicate are known to be ground. In the following simple
but typical example,
hash_term/2 calls are used together with
Prolog's database manipulation predicates (
clause/2) to calculate and add an additional argument to
the clauses actually stored in the Prolog database:
add_pred_info(Name, Arity, Module, Info) :- hash_term([Name,Arity,Module], Hash), assert(info(Hash,Name,Arity,Module,Info)). get_pred_info(Name, Arity, Module, Info) :- hash_term([Name,Arity,Module], Hash), clause(info(Hash,Name,Arity,Module,Info), _).
This example assumes that the name, arity and module to be stored
in the Prolog database are ground when
add_pred_info/4 is called, and
that they are also ground when
get_pred_info/4 is called. The predicate
that is actually asserted,
info/5, has an additional argument
info/5 would not normally be called
directly. A predicate using
hash_term/2 to delete the stored
information would also be straightforward.
If the first argument passed to
hash_term/2 is not ground,
hash_term/2 returns a variable. Thus, if
called with the name, arity or module not ground, the
will be asserted with a variable as its first argument, so it will not
be indexed. If
get_pred_info/4 is called with the name, arity or module
info/5 will simply be searched sequentially. Prolog's
normal semantics will be retained, although access will be considerably
It is possible to use
hash_term/2 in more complex indexing schemes
as well by checking instantiation when adding, accessing, and deleting
clauses; however, it is up to the user to ensure appropriate instantiation
patterns in calls. The tradeoff between run-time argument checking and
reduced indexing effectiveness depends on the degree of discrimination
otherwise afforded by normal first argument indexing. The efficiency
gained by fast multi-argument indexing can often more than make up for
such additional run-time costs.
It is also possible to use such indexing techniques on compiled predicates using term expansion. Note that calculated hash values are not dependent on transitory information like atom numbers or internal pointers. Hash values are consistent across saving and restoring or multiple invocations of an application.
Calculation of hash values is very fast, and indices constructed using
the techniques sketched above are also very compact, as the only
additional cost is for storing the additional (hash value) argument.
When a solution to a complex indexing problem can be constructed using
hash_term/2 it will probably be preferable to solutions using other