Week 3: Project Proposal – Final Draft

I did some research as well as some soul-searching this week and discovered that my previous project idea, while interesting to me, just wouldn’t show off the strengths of Prolog as much I had hoped. Also, let’s be honest– simulations are great and all, but producing code that executes on a real, tangible robot is just WAY cooler!

So I have revised my project idea to focus on using Prolog as a natural language parser to control a robot. I will be using the Scribbler II, as it has pre-existing support for controlling it wirelessly using Python code– and Python can make calls to SWiPl, the Prolog interpreter I am most familiar with.

Following is the final revised draft of my project proposal:

Project Title: Controlling Robots Using Natural Language Processing

Areas of research

Natural Language Parsing, Prolog, Python, AI, robotics, as well as cross-paradigm language interaction.

Project description

I plan to use the Prolog programming language to build a natural language parsing engine to be used as a controller for a simple robot. Why is this of any value? Because Prolog’s resolution engine offers very finely-tuned depth-first-search and backtracking systems, and Prolog itself benefits from a rich history of natural language parsing application (see IBM’s Watson).

The end goal is to produce a python console program which prompts the user for instructions. The user can give natural language commands that python parses and evaluates using Prolog, which then determines an optimal sequence of instructions that it passes back to Python for execution.

I have created a blog to track my progress located at:

I hope to come away from this project having developed my knowledge of Prolog, as well as gaining an understanding for basic natural language processing methodology.

Prior knowledge

I previously studied Prolog in the Computability program here at Evergreen. The main projects I have written so far include a lexer and parser for a subset of C, an implementation of the Bellman-Ford shortest path algorithm, and some constraint-based logic puzzle solvers.

Resources needed to accomplish the project (textbooks, manuals)

I will be primarily using the “Scribbler” hobby robot, which has existing support for control using Python.

On the Prolog end, I will be using the SwiPL implementation which offers some good built-in API functionality for calling it from outside languages.

Other students you know of (if any) interested in related topics

My affinity group consists of Victoria, Jennifer, Jesse, Brian, David, Savannah, and Jason, who are all doing robotics-related projects. Richard will be the faculty advisor to this project. I know of no one else who is interested in Prolog!

Short Bibliography

I intend to use the two following textbooks to reinforce my Prolog knowledge:

“The Art of Prolog”, Sterling and Shapiro.
“Prolog Programming for Artificial Intelligence”, Ivan Bratko.

I still need to find some more good web resources on interacting with the Scribbler using Python.

About the Author: Justin
A 34 year old Software Engineer in Seattle, WA with a love for coding, music, video games, and the great outdoors.
Author Website: http://www.justinmangue.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *