Sega PROLOG

Interesting article: https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2024/02/fans-preserve-and-emulate-segas-extremely-rare-80s-ai-computer/

It makes sense given Japan’s 1980s 5th-generation computer initiative, but I had no idea that Sega made a home computer with Prolog playing the role that BASIC usually filled.

I’d like to see some programs written for it.

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The is the actual details of what the MAME folks have accomplished, probably of more interest to this group than the brief news blurb: https://www.smspower.org/SegaAI/Index

The link you provided doesn’t seem to work… :thinking: or at least I didn’t find a way to see what you shared. Don’t know if it’s a problem of mine :man_shrugging:t2:

OK, I made it :+1:t2:

I tried but failed to format my link properly – not fully awake yet.

Anyways SEGA makes one think of the eighties indeed, I guess. Two other things (at least for me) are/were: the Intellivision console and Spectrum ZX (if I remember correctly the name). And of course Commodore 64 :smiley:

PS: I forgot, also the Atari console was very popular in the eighties

Rather than employing the Basic-language interpreters of most personal computers, Sega’s AI machine uses a run-time Prolog-language interpreter residing in 128-K bytes of read-only memory. The Prolog interpreter is for running applications only — it cannot be used for programming. The company chose the Prolog AI language because of its ability to handle unformatted input and to parse natural-language input. Prolog is not especially suitable for driving displays and controlling peripherals, so Prolog functions call up fast, efficient assembly-language subroutines for these tasks.

From a “a July 24, 1986 article from “Electronics” magazine” that is reproduced in the smspower.org article.

So it looks like my earlier characterization about this machine using Prolog for user-interaction, like other home computers used BASIC, was not correct.

Really interesting article … and the comments too !
Thanks for posting.

This is quite amazing… I grew up in the 1980s but never heard of this. Guess it wasn’t marketed outside Japan at all. At first I assumed it would have been similar to the SG-1000 / SC-3000 and Master System platform, but nope – 16-bit NEC V20 CPU (seems to be a clone of the Intel 8088) and almost decent RAM (128kb vs the 8kb + 16kb VRAM on the Master System).
Seems like it was a step up hardware-wise, so it’s curious that the design of the later Mega Drive took a separate path, relying on the Motorola 68000 instead. Fascinating stuff!

There was a micro-Prolog that ran on 8-bit and 16-bit machines. My recollection is that it had a Lisp-like syntax.

(Wikipedia pointed me to LPA, although I’m not sure that’s the same micro-Prolog I’m thinking of).

I think that there were various Japanese Prologs, including Prolog-like languages (“committed choice”). I’ve long forgotten the details. In those days, the Japanese PCs were somewhat incompatible with the rest of the world, partly because of the ways they tried to handle kanji and the various encodings (see: moji-bake and CJKV Information Processing) and partly because there were a “enhanced 8080” chips, such as the NEC V20.