XSB as an Efficient Deductive Database Engine

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This paper describes the XSB system, and its use as an in-memory deductive database engine. XSB began from a Prolog foundation, and traditional Prolog systems are known to have serious deficiencies when used as database systems. Accordingly, XSB has a fundamental bottom-up extension, introduced through tabling (or memoing), which makes it appropriate as an underlying query engine for deductive database systems. Because it eliminates redundant computation, the tabling extension makes XSB able to compute all modularly stratified datalog programs finitely and with polynomial data complexity. For non-stratified programs, a meta-interpreter with the same properties is provided. In addition XSB significantly extends and improves the indexing capabilities over those of standard Prolog. Finally, its syntactic basis in HiLog, lends it flexibility for data modelling.

The implementation of XSB derives from the WAM, the most common Prolog engine. XSB inherits the WAM's efficiency and can take advantage of extensive compiler technology developed for Prolog. As a result, performance comparisons indicate that XSB is significantly faster than other deductive database systems for a wide range of queries and stratified rule sets. XSB is under continuous development, and version 1.3 is available through anonymous ftp.