The University of Sussex

Studying novice programmers: why they may find learning Prolog hard

Josie Taylor, Benedict du Boulay

One of the aims of workers in Artificial Intelligence is to develop programming environments and programming languages that can be used to produce "intelligent" systems. Such environments (e.g. Interlisp, POPLOG) and languages (e.g. LISP, Prolog and POP-11) are specially designed for this kind of task in the same way that other programming languages such as FORTRAN and COBOL are tuned to the needs of the scientific and commercial programmer. The success of this tool-building activity, whether within AI or some other field, can be judged on a number of criteria, one of which is the power of the tool and another of which is the usability of the tool. Investigating how the human user copes with the complex task of learning to use and exploit computing facilities is the concern of the field .

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