A Graph-Oriented Knowledge Representation and Unification Technique for Automatically Selecting and Invoking Software Functions

William F. Kaemmerer, James A. Larson

An interface to information systems that can automatically select, sequence, and invoke the sources needed to satisfy a user’s request can have great practical value. It can spare the user from the need to know what information is available from each of the sources, and how to access them. We have developed and implemented a graph-oriented technique for representing software modules and databases, along with unification and search algorithms that enable an interface to perform this automatic programming function. The approach works for a large class of useful requests, in a tractable amount of run time. The approach permits the logical integration of pre-existing batch application programs and databases. It may also be used in other situations requiring automatic selection of software functions to obtain information specified in a declarative expression.

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