Advances in Computers, Vol. 15 by Morris Rubinoff, Marshall C. Yovits

By Morris Rubinoff, Marshall C. Yovits

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Extra resources for Advances in Computers, Vol. 15

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3. 1 Introduction Many a programmer has wished for a system that, would read in a few examples of the desired program behavior and automatically create that program. Thus, such a system might be given the input-output pairs (1,2), (2,3), (3,5), (4,7), (5, 11) andbeexpectedtoprintout aprogram that reads an integer i and prints the ith prime number. It is quite possible that the program to be constructed would be adequately defined by a relatively few such examples, so that the user of such a synthesizer would have an easy job.

Y ( l ) , X(2) Y (l), X(3) Y ( l ) ,halt. Step I1 would probably realize that an index should be created to advance through array X and construct the program of Fig. 8. The next section explains this process in much more detail. The satisfactory completion of, Step I involves considerable dif6culties, which continue to be a subject for research. First of all, the discovery of acceptable sequences Si can involve an astronomical amount of enumeration. Also, there may be many sequences S i that convert Xi to Yi and a method must be found for discovering which sequence to use for each i.

Either the programmer has made an error in previous example calculations or he has changed his mind about what the program should do. Whatever the situation, this feature can be called while advancing through an example using the continue feature. If APPROACHES TO AUTOMATIC PROGRAMMING 25 the test program begins some action that does not agree with the user’s desire, he calls backup to undo the undesired action, then he calls override and inserts by hand whatever instructions he prefers, and finally, if appropriate, he can return to the use of continue to finish the calculation.

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