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Version 0.2 (unreleased). Subject to change in backwards-incompatible ways.

Samovar is a DSL for world-modeling using propositions.

A Samovar world is an immutable set of rules which operate on a mutable set of facts. Each rule looks like

[A] X [B]

and means "If A holds, then X is a possible action to take, and if you do take it, you must make B hold afterwards."

By "hold" we mean "matches the current set of facts."

As an example,

[actor(α),item(β),~holding(α,β)] α picks up the β. [holding(α,β)]

Which can be read

If α is an actor and β is an item and α is not holding β, then one possible action is to write out 'α picks up the β' and assert that α is now holding β.

We can add a complementary rule:

[actor(α),item(β),holding(α,β)] α puts down the β. [~holding(α,β)]

And we can package this all into a world-description:

  [actor(α),item(β),~holding(α,β)]  α picks up the β.   [holding(α,β)]
  [actor(α),item(β),holding(α,β)]   α puts down the β.  [~holding(α,β)]

And an implementation of Samovar could take this world-description and use it to, among other things, generate textual descriptions of chains of events like

Ignatz picks up the brick. Ignatz puts down the brick.

Of course, this is a very simple example. A more complex example might have more actors, more items, and more rules (for example, that two actors cannot be holding the same item at the same time.)


Samovar could be described as an "assertion-retraction engine", which itself could be thought of as a highly stylized form of Prolog programming plus some syntactic sugar.

Alternately, it could be thought of as assigning preconditions and postconditions, like you would find in Hoare logic, to actions in a world-model. Instead of proving that the action satisfies the conditions, though, we simply assume it does, and use the conditions to chain actions together in a sensible order.


  • Implement the pattern-matching of propositions using this algorithm
  • Allow ¬ instead of ~, instead of ,.
  • Maybe allow - there doesn't seem to be as much call for it, though.
  • Should probably also allow ASCII tokens for those who don't want to type Greek letters and weird logical connectives.
  • Allow sentence trees to be given for actions.
  • Give the implementation some mode where it deterministically processes rules.
  • Given the above, write a Falderal test document for Samovar.
  • Allow situations to define a termination condition, so that the implementation can generate a scenario where the condition is met (by whatever method).
  • Consider what it would take to add a predicate that evaluates to whether a given action has been taken previously or not.
  • Remove functions as I believe they are not necessary -- if you want to look up a property, you can just pattern-match for it. e.g. the example currently is

    their(Alice) → her
    their(Bob) → his

    but we can just say

    possessive(Alice, her),
    possessive(Bob, his)

    in the world-database, then write rules like

    [actor(α),possessive(α,ξ)] α scratches ξ head. []

    This loses the nice property of the function name being a placeholder, but you could use named variables instead:

    [actor(?Actor),possessive(?Actor,?their)] ?Actor scratches ?their head. []