Handbook of Artificial Intelligence, Vol. 2 by Avron Barr, Edward A. Feigenbaum

By Avron Barr, Edward A. Feigenbaum

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If we had been given an alternate definition of F A C T O R I A L , like TV! = TV(TV - 1)(TV - 2) . . 1, we might have written a more standard program, perhaps using a loop, to evaluate t h e function. T h e power of thinking recursively in A I is illustrated in t h e next example. "Tower o f H a n o i " — R e c u r s i v e p r o b l e m s o l v i n g . In t h e "Tower of Hanoi" puzzle, a tower formed by disks stacked on a peg must be transferred to another peg, say, from peg A t o peg Β in Figure B - l , moving only one disk at a time and never placing a larger disk on t o p of a smaller.

This way of representing structure is convenient for the machine to read, b u t inconvenient for humans. In practice, facilities are Β LISP 29 provided for printing out programs so t h a t the s t r u c t u r e is also indicated with indention. No a t t e m p t e d alternative formats have caught on (with, perhaps, the exception of the CLISP dialect provided in the INTERLISP system). T h e utility of LISP's structured representation of code outweighs the nuisance of its external form. O n e d a t a t y p e .

If control is transferred to the process when it is created, it is running; otherwise, it is suspended. A running process can resume or activate some other process, t h a t is, pass control to the other process, causing itself to suspend. While a process is suspended, its state is preserved b u t nothing happens. A running process can also terminate as it passes control to another process. Bobrow and Wegbreit (1973) provide a formal, clear model for general coroutining in terms of stack frames, a construct t h a t has the advantage of being efficiently implementable in current machine architectures.

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