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Answer set programming (ASP) is a declarative programming paradigm oriented towards difficult combinatorial search problems. Syntactically, ASP programs look like Prolog programs, but solutions are represented in ASP by sets of atoms, and not by substitutions, as in Prolog. Answer set systems, such as SMODELS, SMODELSCC, and DLV, compute answer sets of a given program in the sense of the answer set (stable model) semantics. This is different from the functionality of Prolog systems, which determine when a given query is true relative to a given logic program. ASP has been applied to many areas of science and technology, from the design of a decision support system for the Space Shuttle to graph-theoretic problems arising in zoology and linguistics.


Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of The University of Texas at Austin in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.