Theory and practice of logic programming vol:5 pages:355-390
The term meta-programming refers to the ability of writing programs that have other programs as data and exploit their semantics. The aim of this paper is presenting a methodology allowing us to perform a correct termination analysis for a broad class of practical meta-interpreters, including negation and performing different tasks during the execution. It is based on combining the power of general orderings, used in proving termination of term-rewrite systems and programs, and on the well-known acceptability condition, used in proving termination of logic programs. The methodology establishes a relationship between the ordering needed to prove termination of the interpreted program and the ordering needed to prove termination of the meta-interpreter together with this interpreted program. If such a relationship is established, termination of one of those implies termination of the other one, i.e. the meta-interpreter preserves termination. Among the meta-interpreters that are analysed correctly are a proof trees constructing meta-interpreter, different kinds of tracers and reasoners.