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P. 1

Complexity Lecture Notes|Views: 69|Likes: 1

Published by Anand Kumar

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https://www.scribd.com/doc/82433477/Complexity-Lecture-Notes

11/30/2012

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Since we have done many of the pieces let us brieﬂy outline a proof of

G¨odel’s incompleteness theorem. This theorem basically says that there are

statements in arithmetic which neither have proof or a disproof. We want

to avoid a too elaborate machinery and hence we will be rather informal

and give an argument in the simplest case. However, before we state the

theorem we need to address what we mean by “statement in arithmetic”

and “proof”.

Statements in arithmetic will simply be the formulas considered in the

last examples, i.e. quantiﬁed formulas where the variables values which are

natural numbers. We encourage the reader to write common theorems and

conjectures in number theory in this form to check its power.

The notion of a proof is more complicated. One starts with a set of

axioms and then one is allowed to combine axioms (according to some rules)

to derive new theorems. A proof is then just such a derivation which ends

with the desired statement.

First note that most proofs used in modern mathematics is much more

informal and given in a natural language. However, proof can be formalized

(although most humans prefer informal proofs).

The most common set of axioms for number theory was proposed by

Peano, but one could think of other sets of axioms. We call a set of axioms

together with the rules how they can be combined a proofsystem. There are

two crucial properties to look for in a proofsystem. We want to be able to

prove all true theorem (this is called completeness) and we do not want to be

able to prove any false theorems (this is called that the system is consistent).

In particular, for each statement A we want to be able to prove exactly one

of A and ¬A.

Our goal is to prove that there is no proof system that is both consistent

26

and complete. Unfortunately, this is not true since we can as axioms take all

true statements and then we need no rules for deriving new theorems. This

is not a very practical proofsystem since there is no way to tell whether a

given statement is indeed an axiom. Clearly the axioms need to be speciﬁed

in a more eﬃcient manner. We take the following deﬁnition.

Deﬁnition 2.31 A proofsystem is recursive iﬀ the set of proofs (and hence

the set of axioms) form a recursive set.

We can now state the theorem.

Theorem 2.32 (G¨odel) There is no recursive proofsystem which is both

consistent and complete.

Proof: Assume that there was indeed such a proofsystem. Then we claim

that also the set of all theorems would be recursive. Namely to decide

whether a statement A is true we could proceed as follows:

For z = 0,1,2,...∞

If z is a correct proof of A output “true” and halt.

If z is a correct proof of ¬A output “false” and halt.

To check whether a given string is a correct proof is recursive by as-

sumption and since the proofsystem is consistent and complete sooner or

later there will be a proof of either A or ¬A. Thus this procedure always

halts with the correct answer. However, by Theorem 2.27 the set of true

statements is not recursive and hence we have reached a contradiction.

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