Oz (programming language)

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Paradigm multi-paradigm: logic, functional, imperative, object-oriented, constraint, distributed, concurrent
Appeared in 1991
Designed by Gert Smolka & his students
Developer Mozart Consortium
Stable release 1.4.0 (July 3, 2008)
Typing discipline dynamic
Major implementations Mozart Programming System
Influenced by Prolog
Influenced Alice
Website www.mozart-oz.org

Oz is a multiparadigm programming language, developed in the Programming Systems Lab at Université catholique de Louvain, for programming language education. It has a canonical textbook: Concepts, Techniques, and Models of Computer Programming.

Oz was first designed by Gert Smolka and his students in 1991. In 1996 the development of Oz continued in cooperation with the research group of Seif Haridi and Peter Van Roy at the Swedish Institute of Computer Science. Since 1999, Oz has been continually developed by an international group, the Mozart Consortium, which originally consisted of Saarland University, the Swedish Institute of Computer Science, and the Université catholique de Louvain. In 2005, the responsibility for managing Mozart development was transferred to a core group, the Mozart Board, with the express purpose of opening Mozart development to a larger community.

The Mozart Programming System is the primary implementation of Oz. It is released with an open source license by the Mozart Consortium. Mozart has been ported to different flavors of Unix, FreeBSD, Linux, Microsoft Windows, and Mac OS X.


Language features

Oz contains most of the concepts of the major programming paradigms, including logic, functional (both lazy and eager), imperative, object-oriented, constraint, distributed, and concurrent programming. Oz has both a simple formal semantics (see chapter 13 of the book mentioned below) and an efficient implementation[citation needed]. Oz is a concurrency-oriented language, as the term was introduced by Joe Armstrong, the main designer of the Erlang language. A concurrency-oriented language makes concurrency both easy to use and efficient. Oz supports a canonical GUI language QTk, discussed in chapter 10 of Concepts.

In addition to multi-paradigm programming, the major strengths of Oz are in constraint programming and distributed programming. Due to its factored design, Oz is able to successfully implement a network-transparent distributed programming model. This model makes it easy to program open, fault-tolerant applications within the language. For constraint programming, Oz introduces the idea of "computation spaces"; these allow user-defined search and distribution strategies orthogonal to the constraint domain.

Language overview

Data structures

Oz is based on a core language with very few datatypes that can be extended into more practical ones through syntactic sugar.

Basic data structures:

  • Numbers: floating points or integer (real integer).
  • Records: for grouping data : circle(x:0 y:1 radius:3 color:blue style:dots)
  • Lists: a simple linear structure,
'|'(2 '|'(4 '|'(6 '|'(8 nil))))
2|(4|(6|(8|nil))) % syntactic sugar
2|4|6|8|nil % more syntactic sugar
[2 4 6 8] % even more syntactic sugar

Those data structures are values (constant), first class and dynamically type checked.


Functions are first class values, allowing higher order functional programming:

fun {Fact N}
   if N =< 0 then 1 else N*{Fact N-1} end

fun {Comb N K}
   {Fact N} div ({Fact K} * {Fact N-K}) % integers can't overflow in Oz

fun {SumList List}
   case List of nil then 0
   [] H|T then H+{SumList T} % pattern matching on lists

Dataflow variables and declarative concurrency

When the program encounters an unbound variable it waits for a value:

   Z = X+Y     % will wait until both X and Y are bound to a value.
   {Browse Z}  % shows the value of Z.
thread X = 40 end
thread Y = 2 end

It is not possible to change the value of a dataflow variable once it is bound:

X = 1
X = 2 % error

Dataflow variables makes it easy to create concurrent stream agents:

fun {Ints N Max}
   if N == Max then nil
      {Delay 1000}
      N|{Ints N+1 Max}

fun {Sum S Stream}
   case Stream of nil then S
   [] H|T then S|{Sum H+S T} end

local X Y in
   thread X = {Ints 0 1000} end
   thread Y = {Sum 0 X} end
   {Browse Y}

Because of the way dataflow variables works it is possible to put threads anywhere in the program and it is guaranteed that it will have the same result. This makes concurrent programming very easy. Threads are very cheap, it is possible to have a hundred thousand threads running at once.[1]

Example: Sieve of Eratosthenes

This example computes a stream of prime numbers using the Sieve of Eratosthenes algorithm by recursively creating concurrent stream agents that filter out non-prime numbers:

fun {Sieve Xs}
   case Xs of nil then nil
   [] X|Xr then Ys in
      thread Ys = {Filter Xr fun {$ Y} Y mod X \= 0 end} end
      X|{Sieve Ys}


Oz uses eager evaluation by default, but lazy evaluation is possible:

fun lazy {Fact N}
   if N =< 0 then 1 else N*{Fact N-1} end
local X Y in
  X = {Fact 100} 
  Y = X + 1 % the value of X is needed and fact is computed

Message passing concurrency

The declarative concurrent model can be extended with message passing through simple semantics:

local Stream Port in
   Port = {NewPort Stream}
   {Send Port 1} % Stream is now 1|_ ('_' indicates an unbound and unnamed variable)
   {Send Port 2} % Stream is now 1|2|_ 
   {Send Port n} % Stream is now 1|2| .. |n|_

With a port and a thread the programmer can define asynchronous agents:

fun {NewAgent Init Fun}
   Msg Out in
   thread {FoldL Msg Fun Init Out} end
   {NewPort Msg}

State and objects

It is again possible to extend the declarative model to support state and object-oriented programming with very simple semantics; we create a new mutable data structure called Cells:

local A X in
   A = {NewCell 0}
   A := 1  % changes the value of A to 1
   X = @A  % @ is used to access the value of A

With these simple semantic changes we can support the whole object-oriented paradigm. With a little syntactic sugar OOP becomes well integrated in Oz.

class Counter
   attr val
   meth init(Value)
   meth browse
      {Browse @val}
   meth inc(Value)
      val :=@val+Value

local C in
   C = {New Counter init(0)}
   {C inc(6)}
   {C browse}


See also

  • Alice, the concurrent functional constraint programming language from Saarland University
  • Curry, a functional logic programming language
  • Mercury, a functional logic programming language
  • Dataflow programming

External links

es:Lenguaje de programación Oz fr:Oz (langage) ko:오즈 (프로그래밍 언어) nl:Oz (programmeertaal) ja:Oz (プログラミング言語) pt:Oz (linguagem de programação) ru:Oz (язык программирования) tg:Oz wuu:Oz (程式编制个言话)

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