Turing Oracle Machines, Online Computing, and

Three Displacements in Computability Theory
Robert I. Soare

January 3, 2009
Contents
1 Introduction 4
1.1 Terminology: Incompleteness and Incomputability . . . . . . 4
1.2 The Goal of Incomputability not Computability . . . . . . . 5
1.3 Computing Relative to an Oracle or Database . . . . . . . . . 5
1.4 Continuous Functions and Calculus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
2 Origins of Computability and Incomputability 7
2.1 G¨odel’s Incompleteness Theorem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
2.2 Alonzo Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
2.3 Herbrand-G¨odel Recursive Functions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
2.4 Stalemate at Princeton Over Church’s Thesis . . . . . . . . . 10
2.5 G¨odel’s Thoughts on Church’s Thesis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
3 Turing Breaks the Stalemate 11
3.1 Turing Machines and Turing’s Thesis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
3.2 G¨odel’s Opinion of Turing’s Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
3.2.1 G¨odel [193?] Notes in Nachlass [1935] . . . . . . . . . 14
3.2.2 Princeton Bicentennial [1946] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

Parts of this paper were delivered in an address to the conference, Computation and
Logic in the Real World, at Siena, Italy, June 18–23, 2007. Keywords: Turing ma-
chine, automatic machine, a-machine, Turing oracle machine, o-machine, Alonzo Church,
Stephen C. Kleene, Alan Turing, Kurt G¨odel, Emil Post, computability, incomputability,
undecidability, Church-Turing Thesis, Post-Turing Thesis on relative computability, com-
putable approximations, Limit Lemma, effectively continuous functions, computability in
analysis, strong reducibilities. Thanks are due to C.G. Jockusch, Jr., P. Cholak, and
T. Slaman for corrections and suggestions.
1
3.2.3 The Flaw in Church’s Thesis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
3.2.4 G¨odel on Church’s Thesis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
3.2.5 G¨odel’s Letter to Kreisel [1968] . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
3.2.6 Gibbs Lecture [1951] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
3.2.7 Godel’s Postscriptum 3 June, 1964 to G¨odel [1934] . . 18
3.3 Hao Wang Reports on G¨odel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
3.4 Kleene’s Remarks About Turing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
3.5 Church’s Remarks About Turing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
4 Oracle Machines and Relative Computability 20
4.1 Turing’s Oracle Machines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
4.2 Modern Definitions of Oracle Machines . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
4.2.1 The Graph of a Partial Computable Function . . . . . 23
4.2.2 The Graph of an Oracle Computable Functional . . . 23
4.3 The Oracle Graph Theorem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
4.4 Equivalent Definitions of Relative Computability . . . . . . . 24
4.4.1 Notation for Functions and Functionals . . . . . . . . 25
5 Emil Post Expands Turing’s Ideas 25
5.1 Post’s Work in the 1930’s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
5.2 Post Steps Into Turing’s Place During 1940–1954 . . . . . . . 26
5.3 Post’s Problem on Incomplete C.E. Sets . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
5.4 Post Began With Strong Reducibilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
6 Post Highlights Turing Computability 29
6.1 Post Articulates Turing Reducibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
6.2 The Post-Turing Thesis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
7 Continuous and Total Functionals 31
7.1 Representations of Open and Closed Sets . . . . . . . . . . . 31
7.2 Notation for Trees . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
7.3 Dense Open Subsets of Cantor Space . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
7.4 Effectively Open and Closed Sets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
7.5 Continuous Functions on Cantor Space . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
7.6 Effectively Continuous Functionals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
7.7 Continuous Functions are Relatively Computable . . . . . . . 36
8 Bounded Reducibilities 36
8.1 A Matrix M
x
for Bounded Reducibilities . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
8.2 Bounded Turing Reducibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
2
8.3 Truth-Table Reductions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
8.4 Difference of c.e. sets, n-c.e., and ω-c.e. sets . . . . . . . . . . 39
9 Online Computing 40
9.1 Turing Machines and Online Processes . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
9.2 Trial and Error Computing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
9.3 The Limit Lemma . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
9.4 Two Models for Computing With Error . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
9.4.1 The Limit Computable Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
9.4.2 The Online Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
10 Three Displacements in Computability Theory 45
11 “Computable” versus “Recursive” 45
11.1 Church Defends Church’s Thesis with “Recursive” . . . . . . 46
11.2 Church and Kleene Define “Recursive” as “Computable” . . . 46
11.3 G¨odel Rejects “Recursive Function Theory” . . . . . . . . . . 47
11.4 The Ambiguity in the Term “Recursive” . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
11.5 Changing “Recursive” Back to “Inductive” . . . . . . . . . . 48
12 Renaming it the “Computability Thesis?” 50
12.1 Kleene Called it “Thesis I” in [1943] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
12.2 Kleene Named it “Church’s thesis” in [1952] . . . . . . . . . . 50
12.3 Kleene Dropped “Thesis I” for “Church’s thesis” . . . . . . . 51
12.4 Evidence for the Computability Thesis . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
12.5 Who First Demonstrated the Computability Thesis? . . . . . 52
12.6 The Computability Thesis and the Calculus . . . . . . . . . . 54
12.7 Founders of Computability and the Calculus . . . . . . . . . . 55
13 Turing a-machines versus o-machines? 57
13.1 Turing, Post, and Kleene on Relative Computability . . . . . 57
13.2 Relative Computability Unifies Incomputability . . . . . . . . 57
13.3 The Key Concept of the Subject . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
13.4 When to Introduce Relative Computability . . . . . . . . . . 58
14 Conclusions 59
Abstract
We begin with the history of the discovery of computability in the
1930’s, the roles of G¨odel, Church, and Turing, and the formalisms of
recursive functions and Turing automatic machines (a-machines). To
3
whom did G¨odel credit the definition of a computable function? We
present Turing’s notion [1939, '4] of an oracle machine (o-machine)
and Post’s development of it in [1944, '11], [1948], and finally Kleene-
Post [1954] into its present form.
A number of topics arose from Turing functionals including con-
tinuous functionals on Cantor space and online computations. Almost
all the results in theoretical computability use relative reducibility and
o-machines rather than a-machines and most computing processes in
the real world are potentially online or interactive. Therefore, we argue
that Turing o-machines, relative computability, and online computing
are the most important concepts in the subject, more so than Turing
a-machines and standard computable functions since they are special
cases of the former and are presented first only for pedagogical clar-
ity to beginning students. At the end in '10 – '13 we consider three
displacements in computability theory, and the historical reasons they
occurred. Several brief conclusions are drawn in '14.
1 Introduction
In this paper we consider the development of Turing oracle machines and
relative computability and its relation to continuity in analysis and to online
computing in the real world. We also challenge a number of traditional views
of these subjects as often presented in the literature since the 1930’s.
1.1 Terminology: Incompleteness and Incomputability
The two principal accomplishments in computability and logic in the 1930’s
were the discovery of incompleteness by G¨odel [1931] and of incomputabil-
ity independently by Church [1936] and Turing in [1936]. We use the term
“noncomputable” or “incomputable” for individual instances, but we of-
ten use the term “incomputability” for the general concept because it is
linguistically and mathematically parallel to “incomplete.” The term “in-
computable” appeared in English as early as 1606 with the meaning, that
which “cannot be computed or reckoned; incalculable,” according to the
Oxford English Dictionary. Websters dictionary defines it as “greater than
can be computed or enumerated; very great.” Neither dictionary lists an
entry for “noncomputable” although it has often been used in the subject to
mean “not computable” for a specific function or set analogously as “non-
measurable” is used in analysis.
4
1.2 The Goal of Incomputability not Computability
For several thousand years the study of algorithms had led to new the-
oretical algorithms and sometimes new devices for computability and cal-
culation. In the 1930’s for the first time the goal was the refutation of
Hilbert’ two programs, a finite consistency proof for Peano arithmetic, and
the Entscheidungsproblem (decision problem). For the latter, two main dis-
coverers of computability, Alonzo Church and Alan Turing, wanted to give
formal definitions of a computable function so that they could diagonalize
over all computable functions and produce an incomputable (unsolvable)
problem. The specific models of computable functions produced by 1936,
Turing a-machines, λ-definable functions, and recursive functions, would
all have deep applications to the design and programming of computing
machines, but not until after 1940. Meanwhile, the researchers spent the re-
mainder of the 1930’s investigating more of the new world of incomputability
they had created by diagonal arguments, just as Georg Cantor had spent the
last quarter of the nineteenth century exploring the world of uncountable
sets which he had created by the diagonal method. In '1 and '2 we consider
this historical development from 1931 to 1939 and we introduce quotes from
G¨odel to show convincingly that he believed “the correct definition of me-
chanical computability was established beyond any doubt by Turing” and
only by Turing.
1.3 Computing Relative to an Oracle or Database
In 1936 Turing’s a-machines and Church’s use of G¨odel’s recursive functions
solved an immediate problem by producing a definition of a computable
function, with which one could diagonalize and produce undecidable prob-
lems in mathematics. The Turing a-machine is a good model for offline
computing such as a calculator or batch processor where the process is ini-
tially given a procedure and an input and continues with no further outside
information.
However, many modern computer processes are online processes in that
they consult an external data base of other resource during the computation
process. For example, a laptop computer might consult the World Wide Web
via an ethernet or wireless connection while it is computing. These processes
are sometimes called online or interactive or database processes depending
on the way they are set up.
Turing spent 1936–1938 at Princeton writing a Ph.D. thesis under Church
on ordinal logics. A tiny and obscure part of his paper [1939, '4] included
5
a description of an oracle machine (o-machine) roughly a Turing a-machine
which could interrogate an “oracle” (external database) during the computa-
tion. The one page description was very sketchy and Turing never developed
it further.
Emil Post [1944, '11] considerably expanded and developed relative com-
putability and Turing functionals. These concepts were not well understood
when Post began, but in Post [1943], [1944], [1948] and Kleene-Post [1954]
they emerged into their modern state. These are summarized in the Post-
Turing Thesis of '6.2. This remarkable role by Post has been underempha-
sized in the literature but is discussed here in '5 and '6.
The theory of relative computability developed by Turing and Post and
the o-machines provide a precise mathematical framework for database or
online computing just Turing a-machines provide one for offline computing
processes such as batch processing. Oracle computing processes are those
most often used in theoretical research and also in real world computing
where a laptop computer may communicate with a database like the World
Wide Web. Often the local computer is called the “client” and the remote
device the “server.”
In '4–'6 we study Turing’s oracle machines (o-machines) and Post’s de-
velopment of them into relative computability. It is surprising that so much
attention has been paid to the Church-Turing Thesis 3.2 over the last sev-
enty years and so little to the Post-Turing Thesis 6.1 on relative reducibil-
ity, particularly in view of the importance of relative computability (Turing
o-machines) in comparison with plain computability (Turing a-machines) in
both theoretical and practical areas.
1.4 Continuous Functions and Calculus
In '7 we show that any Turing functional on Cantor space 2
ω
is an effec-
tively continuous partial map. Conversely, for any continuous functional
there is a Turing functional relative to some real parameter which defines it,
thereby linking computability with analysis. This makes Turing functionals
the analogue in computability of the continuous functions in analysis as we
explain. In contrast, Turing a-machines viewed as functionals on Cantor
space produce only a constant functional. Surprisingly, there appears to
be more emphasis in calculus books on continuous functionals than there is
in introductory computability books on computably continuous functionals
and relative computability.
6
2 Origins of Computability and Incomputability
Mathematicians have studied algorithms and computation since ancient
times, but the modern study of computability and incomputability be-
gan around 1900. David Hilbert was deeply interested in the foundations
of mathematics. Hilbert [1899] gave an axiomatization of geometry and
showed [1900] that the question of the consistency of geometry reduced
to that for the real-number system, and that in turn, to arithmetic by
results of Dedekind (at least in a second order system). Hilbert [1904]
proposed proving the consistency of arithmetic by what emerged [1928]
as his finitist program. He proposed using the finiteness of mathematical
proofs in order to establish that contradictions could not be derived. This
tended to reduce proofs to manipulation of finite strings of symbols de-
void of intuitive meaning which stimulated the development of mechanical
processes to accomplish this. Hilbert’s second major program concerned
the Entscheidungsproblem (decision problem). Kleene [1987b, p. 46] wrote,
“The Entscheidungsproblem for various formal systems had been posed by
Schr¨oder [1895], L¨owenheim [1915], and Hilbert [1918].” The decision prob-
lem for first order logic emerged in the early 1920’s in lectures by Hilbert and
was stated in Hilbert and Ackermann [1928]. It was to give a decision proce-
dure (Entscheidungsverfahren) “that allows one to decide the validity of the
sentence.” Hilbert characterized this as the fundamental problem of mathe-
matical logic. Davis [1965, p. 108] wrote, “This was because it seemed clear
to Hilbert that with the solution of this problem, the Entscheidungsproblem,
it should be possible, at least in principle, to settle all mathematical ques-
tions in a purely mechanical manner.” Von Neumann (1927) doubted that
such a procedure existed but had no idea how to prove it.
2.1 G¨ odel’s Incompleteness Theorem
Hilbert retired in 1930 and was asked to give a special address in the fall of
1930 in K¨onigsberg, the city of his birth. Hilbert spoke on natural science
and logic, the importance of mathematics in science, and the importance
of logic in mathematics. He asserted that there are no unsolvable problems
and stressed,
Wir m¨ ussen wissen. (We must know.)
Wir werden wissen. (We will know.)
At a mathematical conference preceding Hilbert’s address, a quiet, obscure
young man, Kurt G¨odel, only a year a beyond his Ph.D., announced a result
7
which would forever change the foundations of mathematics. He formalized
the liar paradox, “This statement is false,” to prove roughly that for any
effectively axiomatized, consistent extension T of number theory (Peano
arithmetic) there is a sentence σ which asserts its own unprovability in T.
John von Neumann in the audience immediately understood the importance
of G¨odel’s Incompleteness Theorem. He was at the conference representing
Hilbert’s proof theory program, and recognized that Hilbert’s program was
over. In the next few weeks von Neuman realized that by arithmetizing
the proof of G¨odel’s first theorem, one could prove an even better one, that
no such formal system T could prove its own consistency. A few weeks
later he brought his proof to G¨odel who thanked him and informed him
politely that he had already submitted the Second Incompleteness Theorem
for publication. G¨odel’s Incompleteness Theorem [1931] not only refuted
Hilbert’s program on proving consistency, but it also had a profound ef-
fect on refuting Hilbert’s second theme of the Entscheidungsproblem. G¨odel
had successfully challenged the Hilbert’s first proposal. This made it eas-
ier to challenge Hilbert on the second topic of the decision problem. Both
refutations used diagonal arguments. Of course, diagonal arguments had
been known since Cantor’s work, but G¨odel showed how to arithmetize the
syntactic elements of a formal system and diagonalize within that system.
Crucial elements in computability theory, such as the Turing universal ma-
chine, the Kleene µ-recursive functions, or the self reference in the Kleene’s
Recursion Theorem, all depend upon giving code numbers to computations
and elements within a computation, and in calling algorithms by their code
numbers (G¨odel numbers). These ideas spring from G¨odel’s [1931] incom-
pleteness proof.
2.2 Alonzo Church
By 1931 computability was a young man’s game. Hilbert had retired and no
longer had much influence on the field. As the importance of G¨odel’s Incom-
pleteness Theorem began to sink in, and researchers began concentrating on
the Entscheidungsproblem, the major figures were all young. Alonzo Church
(born 1903), Kurt G¨odel (b. 1906), and Stephen C. Kleene (b. 1909) were
all under thirty. Turing (b. 1912), perhaps the most influential of all on
computability theory, was not even twenty. Only Emil Post (b. 1897) was
over thirty, and he was not yet thirty-five. These young men were about
to leave Hilbert’s ideas behind and open the path of computability for the
next two thirds of the twentieth century, which would solve the theoretical
problems and would show the way toward practical computing devices.
8
After completing his Ph.D. at Princeton in 1927, Alonzo Church spent
one year at Harvard and one year at G¨ottingen and Amsterdam. He returned
to Princeton as an Assistant Professor of Mathematics in 1929. In 1931
Church’s first student, Stephen C. Kleene, arrived at Princeton. Church
had begun to develop a formal system now called the λ-calculus. In 1931
Church knew only that the successor function was λ-definable. Kleene began
proving that certain well-known functions were λ-definable. By the time
Kleene received his Ph.D. in 1934 he had shown that all the usual number
theoretic functions were λ-definable. On the basis of this evidence and
his own intuition, Church proposed to G¨odel around March, 1934 the first
version of his thesis on functions which are effectively calculable, the term
in the 1930’s for a function which is computable in the informal sense. (See
Davis [1965, p. 8–9].)
Definition 2.1. Church’s Thesis (First Version) [1934]. A function
if effectively calculable if and only if it is λ-definable.
When Kleene first heard the thesis, he tried to refute it by a diagonal
argument but since the λ-definable functions were only partial functions, the
diagonal was one of the rows. Instead of a contradiction, Kleene had proved
a beautiful new theorem, the Kleene Recursion Theorem whose proof is a
diagonal argument which fails (see Soare [1987, p. 36]). Although Kleene was
convinced by Church’s first thesis, G¨odel was not. G¨odel rejected Church’s
first thesis as “thoroughly unsatisfactory.”
2.3 Herbrand-G¨ odel Recursive Functions
From 1933 to 1939 G¨odel spent time both in Vienna pursuing his academic
career and at Fine Hall in Princeton which housed both the Princeton Uni-
versity faculty in mathematics and the Institute for Advanced Study, of
which he was a member. G¨odel spent the first part of 1934 at Princeton.
The primitive recursive functions which he had used in his 1931 paper did
not constitute all computable functions. He expanded on a concept of Her-
brand and brought closer to the modern form. At Princeton in the spring of
1934 G¨odel lectured on the Herbrand-G¨odel recursive functions which came
to be known as the general recursive functions to distinguish them from
the primitive recursive functions which at that time were called “recursive
functions.” Soon the prefix “primitive” was added to the latter and the
prefix “general” was generally dropped from the former. G¨odel’s definition
gave a remarkably succinct system whose simple rules reflected the way a
mathematician would informally calculate a function using recursion.
9
Church and Kleene attended G¨odel’s lectures on recursive functions.
Rosser and Kleene took notes which appeared as G¨odel [1934]. After seeing
G¨odel’s lectures, Church and Kleene changed their formalism (especially for
Church’s Thesis) from “λ-definable” to “Herbrand-G¨odel general recursive.”
Kleene [1981] wrote,
“I myself, perhaps unduly influenced by rather chilly receptions
from audiences around 1933–35 to disquisitions on λ-definability,
chose, after general recursiveness had appeared, to put my work
in that format. . . . ”
Nevertheless, λ-definability is a precise calculating system and has close
connections to modern computing, such as functional programming.
2.4 Stalemate at Princeton Over Church’s Thesis
Church reformulated his thesis, with Herbrand-G¨odel recursive functions
in place of λ-definable ones. This time without consulting G¨odel, Church
presented to the American Mathematical Society on April 19, 1935, his
famous proposition described in his paper [1936].
“In this paper a definition of recursive function of positive in-
tegers which is essentially G¨odel’s is adopted. It is maintained
that the notion of an effectively calculable function of positive
integers should be identified with that of a recursive function,
. . . ”
It has been known since Kleene [1952] as Church’s Thesis in the following
form.
Definition 2.2. Church’s Thesis [1936]. A function on the positive
integers is effectively calculable if and only if it is recursive.
As further evidence, Church and Kleene had shown the formal equiva-
lence of the Herbrand-G¨odel recursive functions and the λ-definable func-
tions. Kleene introduced a new equivalent definition, the µ-recursive func-
tions, functions defined by the five schemata for primitive recursive func-
tions, plus the least number operator µ. The µ-recursive functions had the
advantage of a short standard mathematical definition, but the disadvan-
tage that any function not primitive recursive could be calculated only by a
tedious arithmetization as in G¨odel’s Incompleteness Theorem.
10
2.5 G¨ odel’s Thoughts on Church’s Thesis
In spite of this evidence, G¨odel still did not accept Church’s Thesis by the
beginning of 1936. G¨odel had become the most prominent figure in math-
ematical logic. It was his approval that Church wanted most. Church had
solved the Entscheidungsproblem only if his characterization of effectively
calculable functions was accurate. G¨odel had considered the question of
characterizing the calculable functions in [1934] when he wrote,
“[Primitive] recursive functions have the important property that,
for each given set of values for the arguments, the value of the
function can be computed by a finite procedure
3
.”
Footnote 3.
“The converse seems to be true, if, besides recursion according to
scheme (V) [primitive recursion], recursions of other forms (e.g.,
with respect to two variables simultaneously) are admitted. This
cannot be proved, since the notion of finite computation is not
defined, but it serves as a heuristic principle.”
The second paragraph, G¨odel’s footnote 3, gives crucial insight into his
thinking about the computability thesis and his later pronouncements about
the achievements of Turing versus others. G¨odel says later that he was not
sure that his system of Herbrand-G¨odel recursive functions comprised all
possible recursions. Second, his final sentence suggests that he may have
believed such a characterization “cannot be proved,” but is a “heuristic
principle.”
This suggests that G¨odel was waiting not only for a formal definition
(such as recursive functions or Turing machines which came later) but evi-
dence that these captured the informal notion of effectively calculable (which
Turing later gave, but which G¨odel did not find in Church’s work). Here
he even suggests that such a precise mathematical characterization of the
informal notion cannot be proved which makes his acceptance of Turing’s
later work even more impressive.
3 Turing Breaks the Stalemate
3.1 Turing Machines and Turing’s Thesis
At the start of 1936 those gathered at Princeton: G¨odel, Church, Kleene,
Rosser, and Post nearby at City College in New York, constituted the most
11
distinguished and powerful group in the world investigating the notion of
a computable function and Hilbert’s Entscheidungsproblem, but they could
not agree on whether recursive functions constituted all effectively calculable
functions. At that moment stepped forward a twenty-two year old youth,
far removed from Princeton. Well, this was not just any youth. Alan Turing
had already proved the Central Limit Theorem in probability theory, not
knowing it had been previously proved, and as a result Turing had been
elected a Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge.
The work of Hilbert and G¨odel had become well-known around the world.
At Cambridge University topologist M.H.A. (Max) Newman gave lectures
on Hilbert’s Entscheidungsproblem in 1935. Alan Turing attended. Turing’s
mother had had a typewriter which fascinated him as a boy. He designed
his automatic machine (a-machine) as a kind of idealized typewriter with
an infinite carriage over which the reading head passes with the ability to
read, write, and erase one square at a time before moving to an immediately
adjacent square, just like a typewriter.
Definition 3.1. Turing’s Thesis [1936]. A function is intuitively com-
putable (effectively calculable) if and only if it is computable by a Tur-
ing machine, i.e., an automatic machine (a-machine), as defined in Turing
[1936].
Turing showed his solution to the astonished Max Newman in April,
1936. The Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society was reluctant
to publish Turing’s paper because Church’s had already been submitted to
another journal on similar material. Newman persuaded them that Tur-
ing’s work was sufficiently different, and they published Turing’s paper in
volume 42 on November 30, 1936 and December 23, 1936. There has been
considerable misunderstanding in the literature about exactly when Turing’s
seminal paper was published. This is important because of the appearance
in 1936 of related papers by Church, Kleene, and Post, and Turing’s priority
is important here.
1
1
Many papers, Kleene [1943, p. 73], [1987], [1987b], Davis [1965, p. 72], Post [1943,
p. 20], G¨ odel Collected Works, Vol. I, p. 456, and others, mistakenly refer to this paper
as “Turing [1937],” perhaps because the volume 42 is 1936-37 covering 1936 and part
of 1937, or perhaps because of the two page minor correction [1937a]. Others, such as
Kleene [1952], [1981], [1981b], Kleene and Post [1954, p. 407], Gandy [1980], Cutland
[1980], and others, correctly refer to it as “[1936],” or sometimes “[1936-37].” The journal
states that Turing’s manuscript was “Received 28 May, 1936–Read 12 November, 1936.”
It appeared in two sections, the first section of pages 230–240 in Volume 42, Part 3, issued
on November 30, 1936, and the second section of pages 241–265 in Volume 42, Part 4,
12
Turing’s a-machine has compelling simplicity and logic which makes it
even today the most convincing model of computability. Equally important
with the Turing machine was Turing’s analysis of the intuitive conception of
a “function produced by a mechanical procedure.” In a masterful demon-
stration, which Robin Gandy considered as precise as most mathematical
proofs, Turing analyzed the informal nature of functions computable by a
finite procedure and demonstrated that they coincide with those computable
by an a-machine. Also Turing [1936, p. 243] introduced the universal Turing
machine which has great theoretical and practical importance.
3.2 G¨ odel’s Opinion of Turing’s Work
G¨odel never accepted Church’s Thesis in the form above, even though it
was formulated with his own general recursive functions, but G¨odel and
most others accepted Turing’s Thesis. G¨odel knew of the extensional ev-
idence. Church and Kleene [1936b] had shown the formal equivalence of
λ-definable functions, general recursive functions, and Kleene had proved
the equivalence with µ-recursive functions based on G¨odel’s own arithme-
tization of 1931. G¨odel was also well aware of Turing’s proof [1937b] of
the equivalence of λ-definable functions with Turing computable ones, and
hence the confluence of all the known definitions.
However, G¨odel was interested in the intensional analysis of finite pro-
cedure as given by Turing [1936]. He had not accepted the argument of
confluence as sufficient to justify Church’s Thesis. G¨odel clearly expresses
his opinion in his three volume collected works, G¨odel [1986], G¨odel [1990],
and G¨odel [1995]. Let us examine there what G¨odel has to say. In the
following article G¨odel considers all these as equivalent formal definitions.
The question was whether they captured the informal concept of a function
specified by a finite procedure. The best source for articles of G¨odel is the
three volume Collected Works, which we have listed by year of publication:
Volume I, G¨odel [1986]; Volume II, G¨odel [1990], and Volume III, G¨odel
[1995].
issued December 23, 1936. No part of Turing’s paper appeared in 1937, but the two page
minor correction [1937a] did. Determining the correct date of publication of Turing’s work
is important to place it chronologically in comparison with Church [1936], Post [1936], and
Kleene [1936].
13
3.2.1 G¨odel [193?] Notes in Nachlass [1935]
This article has an introductory note by Martin Davis in G¨odel [1995, p. 156].
Davis wrote, “This article is taken from handwritten notes in English, ev-
idently for a lecture, found in the Nachlass in a spiral notebook.” In the
Nachlass printed in G¨odel [1995, p. 166] G¨odel wrote,
“When I first published my paper about undecidable proposi-
tions the result could not be pronounced in this generality, be-
cause for the notions of mechanical procedure and of formal sys-
tem no mathematically satisfactory definition had been given at
that time. . . .
The essential point is to define what a procedure is.”
To formally capture this crucial informal concept, G¨odel, who was giving
an introductory lecture, began with a definition of the primitive recursive
functions (which he quickly proved inadequate by a diagonal argument)
and then his own Herbrand-G¨odel recursive functions on p. 167. (G¨odel
gave the Herbrand-G¨odel recursive function definition rather than Turing
machines because he knew they were equivalent. He intended his talk to be
as elementary as possible for a general audience, which he knew would be
more familiar with recursion.) G¨odel continued on p. 168,
“That this really is the correct definition of mechanical com-
putability was established beyond any doubt by Turing.”
The word “this” evidently refers to the recursive functions. G¨odel knew
that Turing had never proved anything about recursive functions. What
did he mean? G¨odel knew that by work of Turing, Church, and Kleene,
the formal classes of Turing computable functions, recursive functions, and
λ-definable functions all coincided. G¨odel was asserting that it was Turing
who had demonstrated that these formal classes captured the informal no-
tion of a procedure. It was Turing’s proof [1936] and the formal equivalences
which had elevated Herbrand-G¨odel recursive functions to a correct charac-
teristic of effectively calculable functions, not that the Herbrand-G¨odel re-
cursive functions had elevated Turing computable functions. Indeed G¨odel
had seen Church’s Thesis 2.2 expressed in terms of Herbrand-G¨odel recur-
sive functions, and had rejected it in 1935 and 1936 because he was not sure
his own definition had captured the informal concept of procedure.
G¨odel had begun with the recursive function as more easily explained to
a general audience, but having introduced Turing, G¨odel now went forward
with Turing’s work.
14
“But Turing has shown more. He has shown that the computable
functions defined in this way are exactly those for which you can
construct a machine with finite number of parts which will do
the following thing. If you write down any number n
1
, . . . n
r
,
on a slip of paper and put the slip into the machine and turn
the crank then after finite number of turns the machine will stop
and the value of the function for the argument n
1
, . . . n
r
will be
printed on the paper.”
3.2.2 Princeton Bicentennial [1946]
To fully understand this article one should be familiar with G¨odel’s
¨
Uber die
L¨ange von Beweisen” (“On the length of proofs) [1936a] in Volume I [1986,
p. 396–398]. G¨odel discussed what it means for a function to be computable
in a formal system S and remarked that given a sequence of formal systems
S
i
, S
i+1
. . . it is possible that passing from one formal system S
i
to one of
higher order S
i+1
not only allows us to prove certain propositions which were
not provable before, but also makes it possible to shorten by an extraordinary
amount proofs already available.
Now for G¨odel’s Princeton Bicentennial address [1946] refer to the Col-
lected Works Volume II, G¨ odel [1990, p. 150]. G¨odel muses on the remark-
able fact of the absoluteness of computability, that it is not necessary to
distinguish orders (different formal systems). Once we have a sufficiently
strong system (such as Peano arithmetic) we can prove anything about com-
putable functions which could be proved in a more powerful system. Once
again, G¨odel identifies those formal systems known to be equivalent, general
recursiveness, Turing computability, and others, as a single formal system.
“Tarski has stressed in his lecture (and I think justly) the great
importance of the concept of general recursiveness (or Turing’s
computability). It seems to me that this importance is largely
due to the fact that with this concept one has for the first time
succeeded in giving an absolute definition of an interesting episte-
mogical notion, i.e., one not depending on the formalism chosen.
2
In all other cases treated previously, such as demonstrability or
definability, one has been able to define them only relative to a
given language, and for each individual language it is clear that
the one thus obtained is not the one looked for. For the concept
2
. . . “A function of integers is computable in any formal system containing arithmetic
if and only if it is computable in arithmetic” . . . .
15
of computability, however, although it is merely a special kind of
demonstrability or decidability, the situation is different. By a
kind of miracle it is not necessary to distinguish orders, and the
diagonal procedure does not lead outside the defined notion.”
G¨odel stated,
“. . . one has for the first time succeeded in giving an absolute
definition of an interesting epistemogical notion . . . ”
Who is the “one” who has linked the informal notion of procedure or
effectively calculable function to one of the formal definitions. This becomes
irrefutably clear in '3.2.5.
3.2.3 The Flaw in Church’s Thesis
G¨odel himself was the first to provide one of the formalisms later recognized
as a definition of computability, the general recursive functions. However,
G¨odel himself never claimed to have made this link. Church claimed it in
his announcement of Church’s Thesis in 1935 and 1936, but G¨odel did not
accept it then and gave no evidence later of believing that Church had done
this. Modern scholars found weaknesses in Church’s attempted proof [1936]
that the recursive functions constituted all effectively calculable functions.
If the basic steps are stepwise recursive, then it follows easily by the
Kleene Normal Form Theorem which Kleene had proved and communicated
to G¨odel before November, 1935 (see Kleene [1987b], p. 57]), that the entire
process is recursive. The fatal weakness in Church’s argument was the core
assumption that the atomic steps were stepwise recursive, something he did
not justify. Gandy [1988, p. 79] and especially Sieg [1994, pp. 80, 87] in
their excellent analyses brought out this weakness in Church’s argument.
Sieg [p. 80] wrote, “. . . this core does not provide a convincing analysis:
steps taken in a calculus must be of a restricted character and they are
assumed, for example by Church, without argument to be recursive.” Sieg
[p. 78] wrote, “It is precisely here that we encounter the major stumbling
block for Church’s analysis, and that stumbling block was quite clearly seen
by Church,” who wrote that without this assumption it is difficult to see
how the notion of a system of logic can be given any exact meaning at all.
It is exactly this stumbling block which Turing overcame by a totally new
approach.
16
3.2.4 G¨odel on Church’s Thesis
G¨odel may not have found errors in Church’s demonstration, but he never
gave any hint that he thought Church had been the first to show that the
recursive functions coincided with the effectively calculable ones. On the
contrary, G¨odel said,
“As for previous equivalent definitions of computability, which,
however, are much less suitable for our purpose, [i.e., verifying
the Computability Thesis], see A. Church 1936, pp. 256–358.”
– G¨odel, Princeton Bicentennial, [1946, p. 84], and G¨odel
Collected Works, Vol. I, pp 150–153.
3.2.5 G¨odel’s Letter to Kreisel [1968]
-G¨odel: letter to Kreisel of May 1, 1968 [Sieg, 1994, p. 88].
“ But I was completely convinced only by Turing’s paper.”
3.2.6 Gibbs Lecture [1951]
G¨odel, Collected Works Volume III, [G¨odel, 1995, p.304–305].
Martin Davis in his introduction wrote,
“On 26 December 1951, at a meeting of the American Mathe-
matical Society at Brown University, G¨odel delivered the twenty-
fifth Josiah Willard Gibbs Lecture, “Some basic theorems on the
foundations of mathematics and their implications.” . . .
It is probable as Wang suggests ([1987, pages 117–18]), that the lecture
was the main project G¨odel worked on in the fall of 1951. . . . “
G¨odel [1951] in his Gibbs lecture wrote,
“Research in the foundations of mathematics during the past few
decades has produced some results of interest, not only in them-
selves, but also with regard to their implications for the tradi-
tional philosophical problems about the nature of mathematics.
The results themselves, I believe, are fairly widely known, but
nevertheless I think it will be useful to present them in outline
once again, especially in view of the fact that due to the work
17
of various mathematicians, they have taken on a much more
satisfactory form than they had had originally. The greatest im-
provement was made possible through the precise definition of
the concept of finite procedure, [“ . . . equivalent to the concept of
a ’computable function of integers’ . . . ”] which plays a decisive
role in these results. There are several different ways of arriving
at such a definition, which, however, all lead to exactly the same
concept. The most satisfactory way, in my opinion, is that of
reducing the concept of a finite procedure to that of a machine
with a finite number of parts, as has been done by the British
mathematician Turing.”
In this one paragraph,
1. G¨odel stressed the importance of the results to mathematics and phi-
losophy.
2. G¨odel gave full credit to Turing and his “machine with a finite number
of parts” for capturing the concept of finite procedure.
3. G¨odel never mentions Church or G¨odel’s own definition of recursive
functions.
This is one of the most convincing and explicit demonstrations of G¨odel’s
opinion of Turing’s work.
3.2.7 Godel’s Postscriptum 3 June, 1964 to G¨odel [1934]
-Godel’s Postscriptum 3 June, 1964 to G¨odel [1934], see “The Un-
decidable,” M. Davis, [1965, p. 71] and G¨odel Collected Works, Volume I
[1986, p. 369–370].
“ In consequence of later advances, in particular of the fact that,
due to A. M. Turing’s work, a precise and unquestionably ade-
quate definition of the general concept of formal system can now
be given, the existence of undecidable arithmetical propositions
and the non-demonstrability of the consistency of a system in the
same system can now be proved rigorously for every consistent
formal system containing a certain amount of finitary number
theory.”
18
Turing’s work gives an analysis of the concept of “mechanical
procedure” (alias “algorithm” or “computation procedure” or
“finite combinatorial procedure”). This concept is shown to be
equivalent with that of a “Turing machine.”
3.3 Hao Wang Reports on G¨ odel
Hao Wang was a very close friend and professional colleague of G¨odel, whom
he called “G” in the following passage. Wang [1987, p. 96] wrote about
G¨odel’s opinion of Turing’s work.
“Over the years G habitually credited A.M. Turing’s paper of
1936 as the definitive work in capturing the intuitive concept [of
computability], and did not mention Church or E. Post in this
connection. He must have felt that Turing was the only one who
gave persuasive arguments to show the adequacy of the precise
concept . . . In particular, he had probably been aware of the
arguments offered by Church for his “thesis” and decided that
they were inadequate. It is clear that G and Turing (1912–1954)
had great admiration for each other, . . . “
3.4 Kleene’s Remarks About Turing
“Turing’s computability is intrinsically persuasive” but “λ-de-
finability is not intrinsically persuasive” and “general recursive-
ness scarcely so (its author G¨odel being at the time not at all
persuaded).”
-Stephen Cole Kleene [1981b, p. 49]
“Turing’s machine concept arises from a direct effort to ana-
lyze computation procedures as we know them intuitively into
elementary operations. Turing argued that repetitions of his el-
ementary operations would suffice for any possible computation.
“ For this reason, Turing computability suggests the thesis more
immediately than the other equivalent notions and so we choose
it for our exposition.”
-Stephen Cole Kleene, second book [1967, p. 233]
19
3.5 Church’s Remarks About Turing
Computability by a Turing machine, “ has the advantage of mak-
ing the identification with effectiveness in the ordinary (not ex-
plicitly defined) sense evident immediately—i.e., without the ne-
cessity of proving preliminary theorems.”
-Alonzo Church [1937], Review of Turing [1936]
In modern times it is sometimes stated as follows, recognizing that
Church [1935], [1936] got it first, but that Turing [1936] got it right, in
the opinion of G¨odel and many modern scholars.
Definition 3.2. Church-Turing Thesis. A function is intuitively com-
putable if and only if it is computable by a Turing machine, or equivalently
if it is specified by a recursive function.
We strongly believe that it should not be called any of the three (Church’s
Thesis, Turing’s Thesis, or the Church-Turing Thesis) but rather should be
called the “Computability Thesis” as we argue in '13 and '14, just as the
calculus is named for neither of its discoverers, Newton and Leibniz.
4 Oracle Machines and Relative Computability
After introducing definitions of computable functions: Turing a-machines,
recursive functions, and λ-definable functions; the originators continued dur-
ing 1936–1939 to explore incomputable phenomena, rather than computable
applications of these devices, which came only a decade or more later.
Church and Kleene [1936] as well as Church [1938] and Kleene [1938] studied
computable well-orderings and defined recursive ordinals which were later
used to extend the jump operation to the arithmetic hierarchy and beyond
to the hyperarithmetic hierarchy up to the first nonrecursive ordinal ω
CK
1
.
Turing spent 1936–1938 at Princeton working on a Ph.D. with Church.
His thesis was completed in 1938 and published in Turing [1939]. Church
and other mathematicians had found G¨odel’s Incompleteness Theorem un-
settling. By G¨odel’s proof an effective extension T
1
of Peano arithmetic
cannot prove its own consistency con
T
1
. However, we can add the arithmeti-
cal statement con
T
1
to T
1
to get a strictly stronger theory T
2
. Continuing,
we can get an increasing hierarchy of theories ¦T
α
¦
α∈S
over a set S of or-
dinals. Turing’s Ph.D. thesis [1939] concerned such an increasing array of
undecidable theories.
20
4.1 Turing’s Oracle Machines
In one of the most important and most obscure parts of all of computability
theory, Turing wrote in his ordinal logics paper [1939, '4] a short statement
about oracle machines.
“Let us suppose we are supplied with some unspecified means of
solving number-theoretic problems; a kind of oracle as it were.
. . . this oracle . . . cannot be a machine.
With the help of the oracle we could form a new kind of ma-
chine (call them o-machines), having as one of its fundamental
processes that of solving a given number-theoretic problem.”
This is virtually all Turing said of oracle machines. His description was
only a page long and half of that was devoted to the unsolvability of related
problems such as whether an o-machine will output an infinite number of
0’s or not.
In 1939 Turing left this topic never to return. It mostly lay dormant
for five years until it was developed in a beautiful form by Post [1944],
[1948], and other papers as we shall explain in '5 and '6. Before doing so,
we complete this section '4.1 with a modern treatment of oracle machines
and Turing functionals including some of the more important properties even
though these were mostly discovered much later, even after Post. More mod-
ern properties of Turing functionals, such as effective continuity on Cantor
space, will be developed in '7.6.
4.2 Modern Definitions of Oracle Machines
There are several equivalent ways that a Turing machine with oracle may be
defined. We prefer the definition in Soare’s book [1987, p. 46] of a machine
with a head which reads the work tape and oracle tape simultaneously, but
many other formulations produce the same class of functionals.
Definition 4.1. A Turing oracle machine (o-machine) is a Turing machine
with an extra “read only” tape, called the oracle tape, upon which is writ-
ten the characteristic function of some set A (called the oracle), and whose
symbols cannot be printed over. The old tape is called the work tape and
operates just as before. The reading head moves along both tapes simulta-
neously. As before, Q is a finite set of states, S
1
= ¦B, 0, 1¦ is the oracle
tape alphabet, S
2
= ¦B, 1¦ is the work tape alphabet, and ¦R, L¦ the set of
21
head moving operations right and left. A Turing oracle program

P
e
is now
simply a partial map,
δ : QS
1
S
2
−→ QS
2
¦R, L¦,
where δ(q, a, b) = (p, c, X) indicates that the machine in state q reading
symbol a on the oracle tape and symbol b on the work tape passes to state
p, prints “c” over “b” on the work tape, and moves one space right (left) on
both tapes if X = R (X = L). The other details are just as previously in
Soare [1987]. The Turing oracle program

P
e
takes some oracle A and defines
a partial A-computable functional Φ
A
e
(x) = y.
Notation 4.2. (i) We let lower case Greek letters ϕ, ψ represent partial
functions from ω to ω and lower case Latin letters f, g, and h represent
total functions.
(ii) We let upper case Greek letters represent partial functionals from 2
ω
to 2
ω
. If A ⊆ ω then Ψ
A
(x) may be defined for some or all x. If B ⊆ ω we
write Ψ
A
= B if Ψ
A
(x) = B(x) for all x ∈ ω.
(iii) As in Soare [1987] we use ¦P
e
¦
e∈ω
for an effective listing of Turing
programs for Turing a-machines and let ϕ
e
be the partial computable func-
tion defined by P
e
. We let ¦

P
e
¦
e∈ω
be an effective listing of oracle Turing
programs, and let Φ
e
be the computable partial functional defined by

P
e
. If
Φ
A
e
is total and computes B we say B is computable in A and write B ≤
T
A.
We refer to ϕ
e
as a partial computable function ω to ω because its input and
output are integers. On the other hand, Φ
A
e
is called a partial computable
functional because it takes a set A to a set B and is viewed as a map on
Cantor Space 2
ω
.
(iv) Since Rogers book [1967], researchers have used ϕ
e
(x) or ¦e¦(x) for the
partial computable function with program P
e
. Since Lachlan about 1970,
researchers have used Φ
A
e
(x) for the Turing functional with oracle program

P
e
and have used ϕ
A
e
(x) for the use function, the maximum element of A
examined during the computation. Lachlan also used matched pairs Ψ, ψ;
Γ, γ and so forth for partial computable functionals and their use functions
in many papers, and this is the general usage today. There is no confusion
between the notation ϕ
e
(x) as a partial computable function and ϕ
A
e
(x) as a
use function for Φ
A
e
(x) because the former ϕ
e
(x) will never have an exponent
A and the latter use function ϕ
A
e
(x) always will.
22
4.2.1 The Graph of a Partial Computable Function
Definition 4.3. Given a partial computable (p.c) function ϕ
e
define the
graph of ϕ
e
as follows.
(1) g
e
= graph(ϕ
e
) =
dfn
¦ 'x, y` : ϕ
e
(x) = y ¦
Note that if ϕ
e
is a partial computable (p.c.) function then graph(ϕ
e
)
is a computable enumerable (c.e.) set. Likewise, given any (c.e.) set W
e
we can find a single-valued c.e. subset V
e
⊆ W
e
which is the graph of a p.c.
function. The the notions of a Turing program to compute a p.c. function
ψ and a description of its graph are interchangeable and equally powerful in
describing ψ.
4.2.2 The Graph of an Oracle Computable Functional
Definition 4.4. For an oracle machine program

P
e
we likewise define the
oracle graph of the corresponding computable functional Φ
e
but now tak-
ing into consideration the finite strings read by the oracle head during the
computation.
(2) G
e
=
dfn
graph(Φ
e
) =
dfn
¦ 'σ, x, y` : Φ
σ
e
(x) = y ¦
where σ ranges over 2

,
Here Φ
σ
e
(x) = y denotes that the oracle program

P
e
with oracle σ on its
oracle tape, and x on its input tape, eventually halts and outputs y, and
does not read more of the oracle tape than σ during the computation. The
crucial property of the oracle graph G
e
and the one which makes a Turing
functional Φ
e
independent of any particular machine representation is the
following.
4.3 The Oracle Graph Theorem
Theorem 4.5. Oracle Graph Theorem. If

P
e
is an oracle Turing pro-
gram defining a Turing functional Φ
e
, then the graph G
e
defined in (2) is a
computably enumerable (c.e.) set.
Proof. From the definitions G
e
is Σ
0
1
and therefore c.e.
The converse holds for a c.e. set V which satisfies a singlevaluedness
condition (3) and a continuity condition (4).
23
Theorem 4.6. Let V ⊂ 2

ω ω be a computably enumerable set which
satisfies the following two conditions. Then there is a Turing functional Φ
e
such that G
e
= V .
(3) 'σ, x, y` ∈ V =⇒ (∃τ ⊇ σ)(∃z)[ z = y & 'τ, x, z` ∈ V ].
(4) 'σ, x, y` ∈ V =⇒ (∀τ ⊃ σ)[ 'τ, x, y` ∈ V ].
Proof. Given V satisfying (3) and (4) define a partial computable functional
Ψ
σ
(x) as follows. If 'σ, x, y` appears in V define Ψ
σ
(x) = y. This defines an
effective reduction Ψ. There must be a Turing oracle machine Φ
e
such that
Φ
e
= Ψ.
Theorem 4.7. Furthermore, given any c.e. set U ⊆ 2

ω ω there is a
c.e. subset V ⊆ U satisfying (3) and (4) and having the same domain, i.e.,
¦x : (∃σ)(∃y)[ 'σ, x, y` ∈ U ]¦ = ¦x : (∃σ)(∃y)[ 'σ, x, y` ∈ V ]¦.
Proof. Similar to single valuedness theorem in Soare [1987, Chapter II].
4.4 Equivalent Definitions of Relative Computability
There are several different formal definitions of relative computability. This
includes an oracle machine with a single reading head reading the work
tape and oracle tape, or two independent reading heads, or other varia-
tions. In addition, several authors define relative computability from oracle
A by adding the characteristic function of A either to the Herbrand-G¨odel
general recursive function definition or to the Kleene µ-recursive function
definition. Each of these formal definitions produces a c.e. graph G
e
and
these definitions are all equivalent.
Furthermore, any Turing a-machine can clearly be simulated by a Turing
o-machine as we note in the following theorem. Therefore, in presenting the
subject we can bypass a-machines altogether, present o-machines, and then
draw a-machines as special cases. This reinforces the claim that it is the
o-machine, not the a-machine, which is the central concept of the subject.
Theorem 4.8. If P
e
is a Turing program for a Turing a-machine, then there
is a Turing oracle program

P
i
which on input x and any oracle A produces
the same output y.
Proof. Let P
e
be a Turing program to compute ϕ
e
. Now P
e
consists of a
finite partial map which can be identified with a set of 5-tuples,
δ : QS
2
−→ QS
2
¦R, L¦,
24
where Q is a finite set of states, S
2
= ¦B, 1¦ is the work tape alphabet, and
¦R, L¦ the set of head moving operations right and left. Define an oracle
program

P
i
as follows with transition function

δ : QS
1
S
2
−→ QS
2
¦R, L¦,
for S
1
= ¦B, 0, 1¦ the oracle tape alphabet as follows. For each line in P
e
of the form δ(q, a) = (p, b, X) for p, q ∈ Q and a, b ∈ S
2
, we add to oracle
program

P
i
a line

δ(q, c, a) = (p, b, X) for both c = 0 and c = 1. Hence,

P
i
has exactly the same effect on input x as P
e
regardless of the oracle A.
4.4.1 Notation for Functions and Functionals
The standard notation is that given above.
Remark 4.9. Note that the oracle Turing machine Φ
e
is a finite object
represented by an oracle program

P
e
or an oracle graph G
e
and has no oracle
associated with it, but it can use any oracle A which may be attached. This
is analogous to a laptop computer with no active connection to a database
which may later be connected to the World Wide Web.
Recently, some researchers have unfortunately used Φ
e
to denote ϕ
e
.
This is unwise because it blurs the distinction of types in which ϕ
e
operates
on integers and Φ
e
on sets. Furthermore, sometimes we would like to write
Φ
e
alone without its exponent A to identify it with

P
e
or its oracle graph
G
e
as a finite object, like a laptop computer whose link with the web has
temporarily been removed. Doing so under the new convention leads to con-
fusion with ϕ
e
which is given by a different type of program. The functional
Φ
e
is defined by a program

P
e
which is a finite set of 6-tuples operating on
sets, while ϕ
e
is defined by P
e
a finite set of 5-tuples operating on integers.
Furthermore, there is no justification for the necessity of Φ
e
to denote ϕ
e
since the current notation ϕ
e
is quite satisfactory. We recommend against
using Φ
e
to denote ϕ
e
the partial computable function.
5 Emil Post Expands Turing’s Ideas
The spirit of Turing’s work was taken up by the American mathematician
Emil Post, who had been appointed to a faculty position at City College of
New York in 1932.
25
5.1 Post’s Work in the 1930’s
Post [1936] independently of Turing (but not independently of the work by
Church and Kleene in Princeton) had defined a “finite combinatory pro-
cess” which closely resembles a Turing machine. From this it is often and
erroneously written (Kleene [1987b, p. 56], and [1981, p. 61]) that Post’s
contribution here was “essentially the same” as Turing’s, but in fact it was
much less. Post did not attempt to prove that his formalism coincided with
any other formalism, such as general recursiveness, but merely expressed
the expectation that this would turn out to be true, while Turing [1937b]
proved the Turing computable functions equivalent to the λ-definable ones.
Post gave no hint of a universal Turing machine. Most important, Post gave
no analysis, as did Turing, of why the intuitively computable functions are
computable in his formal system. Post offers only as a “working hypoth-
esis” that his contemplated “wider and wider formulations” are “logically
reducible to formulation 1.” Lastly, Post, of course, did not prove the un-
solvability of the Entscheidungsproblem because at the time Post was not
aware of Turing’s [1936], and Post believed that Church [1936] had settled
the Entscheidungsproblem. Furthermore, Post wrote [1936] that Church’s
identification of effective calculability and recursiveness was working hy-
pothesis which is in “need of continual verification.” This irritated Church
who criticized it in his review [1937b] of Post [1936].
Post’s contributions during the 1930’s were original and insightful, cor-
responding in spirit to Turing’s more than to Church’s, but they were not
as influential as those of Church and Turing. It was only during the next
phase from 1940 to 1954 that Post’s remarkable influence was fully felt.
5.2 Post Steps Into Turing’s Place During 1940–1954
As Turing left the subject of pure computability theory in 1939, his mantle
fell on the shoulders of Post. This was the mantle of clarity and intuitive ex-
position, the mantle of exploring the most basic objects such as computably
enumerable sets, and most of all, the mantle of relative computability and
Turing reducibility. During the next decade and a half from 1940 until his
death in 1954, Post played an extraordinary role in shaping the subject.
Post [1941] and [1943] introduced a second and unrelated formalism
called a production system and (in a restricted form) a normal system,
which he explained again in [1944]. Post’s (normal) canonical system is
a generational system, rather than a computational system as in general
recursive functions or Turing computable functions, because it gives an al-
26
gorithm for generating (listing) a set of integers rather than computing a
function. This led Post to concentrate on effectively enumerable sets rather
than computable functions. Post, like Church and Turing, gave a thesis
[1943, p. 201], but stated it in terms of generated sets and production sys-
tems, which asserted that “any generated set is a normal set.” That is,
any effectively enumerable set in the intuitive sense could be produced as a
normal set is his formal system. Although he had used other terminology
earlier, by the 1940’s Post had adopted the Kleene-Church terminology of
“recursively enumerable set” for the formal equivalent of Post’s effectively
enumerable set.
Definition 5.1. [Post’s Thesis, 1943, 1944]. A nonempty set is effec-
tively enumerable (listable in the intuitive sense) iff it is recursively enumer-
able (the range of a recursive function) or equivalently iff it is generated by
a (normal) production system.
Post showed that every recursively enumerable set (one formally gen-
erated by a recursive function) is a normal set (one derived in his normal
canonical system) and conversely. Therefore, normal sets are formally equiv-
alent to recursively enumerable sets. Since recursively enumerable sets are
equidefinable with partial computable functions, this definition of normal set
gives a new formal definition of computability which is formally equivalent
to the definitions of Church or Turing. (Equidefinable here means that from
the definition of a partial computable function we can derive a c.e. set as its
range and from the definition of a c.e. set one can find a single valued c.e.
subset which is the graph of a partial computable function.) Post’s Thesis
is equivalent to Turing’s Thesis.
Post used the terms “effectively enumerable set” and “generated set”
almost interchangeably, particularly for sets of positive integers. Post [1944,
p. 285], like Church [1936], defined a set of positive integers to be recur-
sively enumerable if it is the range of a recursive function and then stated,
“The corresponding intuitive concept is that of an effectively enumerable
set of positive integers.” (This is Church’s [1936] terminology also). Post
[1944, p. 286], explained his informal concept of a “generated set” of positive
integers this way,
“Suffice it to say that each element of the set is at some time
written down, and earmarked as belonging to the set, as a result
of predetermined effective processes. It is understood that once
an element is placed in the set, it stays there.”
Post then [1944, p. 286], restated Post’s Thesis 5.1 in the succinct form,
27
“every generated set of positive integers is recursively enumer-
able.”
He remarked that “this may be resolved into the two statements: every
generated set is effectively enumerable, every effectively enumerable set of
positive integers is recursively enumerable.” Post continued, “their con-
verses are immediately seen to be true.” Post’s concentration on c.e. sets
rather than partial computable functions may be even more fundamental
than the thesis of Church and Turing characterizing computable functions
because Sacks [1990] has remarked that often in higher computability the-
ory it is more convenient to take the notion of a generalized c.e. set as basic
and to derive generalized computable functions as those whose graphs are
generalized computably enumerable.
5.3 Post’s Problem on Incomplete C.E. Sets
Post’s most influential achievement during this period was the extraordinar-
ily clear and intuitive paper, Recursively enumerable sets of positive integers
and their decision problems, [1944]. Here Post introduced the terms degree
of unsolvability and the concept that one set has lower degree of unsolvability
than another. Post later expanded on these definitions in [1948].
Post’s paper [1944] revealed with intuition and great appeal the signif-
icance of the computably enumerable sets and the significance of G¨odel’s
Incompleteness Theorem. Post called G¨odel’s diagonal set,
K = ¦e : e ∈ W
e
¦
the complete set because every c.e. set W
e
is computable in K (W
e

T
K).
Moreover, Post felt that the creative property of K revealed the inherent
creativeness of the mathematical process.
5.4 Post Began With Strong Reducibilities
Post posed his famous “Post’s problem” of whether there exists a com-
putably enumerable (c.e.) set W which is not computable but which cannot
compute G¨odel’s diagonal set K, i.e., such that ∅ <
T
W <
T
K. In 1944 re-
searchers did not understand Turing reducibility, even as little as presented
above in '4. Post himself was struggling to understand it, and did not ex-
plicitly discuss it until the very end of his paper, and even then only in
general terms.
28
Post’s contributions from 1943 to 1954 concerning relative computabil-
ity are remarkable. First, Post resurrected in [1944] the concept of oracle
machines which had been buried in Turing’s [1939] paper and which other
researchers had apparently ignored for five years. Second, Post defined a
sequence of strong reducibilities to better understand the concept of a set
B being reducible to a set A.
Along with these strong reducibilities, Post defined families of c.e. sets
with thin complements, simple, hyper-simple, hyper-hypersimple, in an at-
tempt to find an incomplete set for these reducibilities. These concepts have
pervaded the literature and proved useful and interesting, but they did not
lead to a solution of Post’s problem. Post was able to exhibit incomplete
incomputable c.e. sets for several of these stronger reducibilities but not for
Turing reducibility. Post’s Problem stimulated a great deal of research in
the field and had considerable influence.
Slowly Post’s understanding deepened of the general case of one set B
being reducible (Turing reducible) to another set A. Post steadily contin-
ued gaining a deeper and deeper understanding from 1943 to 1954 until he
had brought it to full development. Our modern understanding of relative
computability and Turing functionals is due more to Post and his patient,
persistent efforts over a decade and a half than it is due to the brief remark
by Turing in 1939.
6 Post Highlights Turing Computability
When Post wrote his famous paper [1944], Turing’s notion of relative com-
putability from an oracle discussed in '4.1 had been mostly ignored for five
years. It was only at the end of Post’s paper [1944] in the last section, '11
General (Turing) Reducibility, that Post defined and named for the first time
“Turing Reducibility,” denoted B ≤
T
A, and began to discuss it in intuitive
terms. Post’s four and a half page discussion there is the most revealing
introduction to effective reducibility of one set from another. In the same
crisp, intuitive style as in the rest of the paper, Post described the manner
in which the decision problem for one set S
1
could be reduced to that of a
second set S
2
. Post wrote it for a c.e. set S
2
in studying Post’s problem, but
the analysis holds for any set S
2
.
6.1 Post Articulates Turing Reducibility
Post wrote in [1944, '11],
29
“Now suppose instead, says Turing [1939] in effect, this situation
obtains with the following modification. That at certain times
the otherwise machine determined process raises the question is
a certain positive integer in a given recursively enumerable set
S
2
of positive integers, and that the machine is so constructed
that were the correct answer to this question supplied on every
occasion that arises, the process would automatically continue to
its eventual correct conclusion. We could then say that the ma-
chine effectively reduces the decision problem of S
1
to that of S
2
.
Intuitively, this would correspond to the most general concept
of reducibility of S
1
to S
2
. For the very concept of the decision
problem of S
2
merely involves the answering for an arbitrarily
given single positive integer m of the question is m in S
2
; and in a
finite time but a finite number of such questions can be asked. A
corresponding formulation of “Turing reducibility” should then
be the same degree of generality for effective reducibility as say
general recursive function is for effective calculability.”
6.2 The Post-Turing Thesis
Post’s statement may be restated in succinct modern terms and incorporates
the statement implicit in Turing [1939, '4] in the following extension of
Turing’s first Thesis 3.1 and Post’s first Thesis 5.1.
Definition 6.1. Post-Turing Thesis, Turing [1939 §4], Post [1944,
§11]. A set B is effectively reducible to another set A iff B is Turing
reducible to A by a Turing oracle machine (B ≤
T
A).
Turing’s brief introduction of oracles did not state this as a formal the-
sis, but it is largely implied by his presentation. Post makes it explicit and
claims that this is the formal equivalent of the intuitive notion of effec-
tively reducible, a step as significant as the Church-Turing characterization
of “calculable.” If we identify a Turing reduction Φ
e
with its graph G
e
both
informally and formally then the Post-Turing Thesis is equivalent to Post’s
Thesis 5.1 (because G
e
is c.e.), which is equivalent to Turing’s Thesis 3.1.
However, there has been little analysis (along the lines of the extensive
analysis of the Church-Turing Thesis 3.2 for unrelativized computations) of
what constitutes a relative computation of B from A. This is surprising
because the Post-Turing Thesis was stated clearly in Post [1944]. It is even
more surprising because relative computability is used much more often than
30
ordinary computability in the theory of computability, applications of com-
putability to other areas such as algebra, analysis, model theory, algorithmic
complexity and many more. Also interactive or online computing in the real
world is more common than batch processing or offline computing, using
processes contained entirely inside the machine.
7 Continuous and Total Functionals
7.1 Representations of Open and Closed Sets
Definition 7.1. (i) Using ordinal notation identify the ordinal 2 with the
set of smaller ordinals ¦0, 1¦. Identify the sets A ⊆ ω with their character-
istic functions f : ω → ¦0, 1¦ and represent the set of such f as 2
ω
.
(ii) Let 2

denote the set of finite strings of 0

s and 1’s, i.e., finite initial
segments of functions f ∈ 2
ω
. Let σ and τ represent finite strings in 2

and σ ≺ τ or σ ≺ f denote that σ is an initial segment of τ or f.
(iii) Recall the definition of a finite set D
y
with canonical index y where
D
y
= ¦x
1
< x
2
, . . . < x
k
¦ and y = 2
x
1
+ 2
x
2
. . . = 2
x
k
. Define the string σ
y
with canonical index y by σ
y
(z) = 1 if z ∈ D
y
and σ
y
(z) = 0 otherwise.
(iv) Cantor space is 2
ω
with the following topology (class of open sets). For
every σ ∈ 2

the basic open (clopen) set
^
σ
= ¦ f : f ∈ 2
ω
& σ ≺ f ¦.
The sets ^
σ
are called clopen because they are both closed and open. The
open sets of Cantor space are the countable unions of basic open sets.
(iv) Set A ⊆ 2

is an open representation of the open set ^
A
=

σ∈A
^
σ
.
We may assume A is closed upwards, i.e., σ ∈ A and σ ≺ τ implies τ ∈ A.
(v) A set ( is (topologically) closed if its complement ^
A
is open, i.e.,
( = ^
A
= (2
ω
−^
A
). In this case T =
dfn
2

−A is a closed representation
for (. Now T is closed downwards (because A is closed upwards). Hence,
we shall see that T forms a tree as in Definition 7.2 (i).
7.2 Notation for Trees
Definition 7.2. (i) A tree T ⊆ 2

is a set closed under initial segments,
i.e., σ ∈ T and τ ≺ σ imply τ ∈ T. Fix any tree T.
31
(ii) The set of infinite paths through T is
(5) [ T ] = ¦ f : (∀n) [ fn ∈ T ] ¦.
Note that [ T ] is always a closed set. If ( ⊆ 2
ω
is any closed set then by
Theorem 7.3 there is a (nonunique) tree T ⊆ 2

such that ( = [ T ], which
is called a closed representation for (.
(iii) For σ ∈ T define the subtree T
σ
of nodes τ ∈ T comparable with σ,
(6) T
σ
= ¦ τ : σ _ τ or τ ≺ σ ¦.
(iv) Define the subtree of extendible nodes σ ∈ T.
(7) T
ext
= ¦ σ ∈ T : (∃f ~ σ)[ f ∈ [ T ] ] ¦
Note that if the tree T is computable then T
ext
is co-c.e. Usually for a
given tree T there are many other trees T

such that [ T ] = [ T

], i.e., many
different representations for the same closed set [ T ]. The closed sets are
closed under finite union and countable intersection since the open sets have
the dual properties in Definition 7.1 (iii), closure under finite intersection
and countable union. The clopen sets are both open and closed, so any
countable union of them is open and any countable intersection is closed.
Theorem 7.3. If T is a tree, then [ T ] is a closed set, and for every closed
set ( there is a tree T such that ( = [ T ].
Proof. (=⇒). Given tree T let A = 2

−T. Then ^
A
is open. Therefore,
[ T ] = 2
ω
−^
A
and [ T ] is closed.
(⇐=). Given any closed ( with complement ^
A
define T by putting σ in T
if (∀τ _ σ)[ τ ∈ A]. Then T is closed downward and [ T ] = (.
Theorem 7.4. [Compactness]. The following very easy and well-known
properties hold for Cantor Space 2
ω
. The term “compactness” refers to any
of them, but particularly to (iv). These properties can be proved from one
another but here we give direct proofs of each.
(i) K¨onig’s Lemma. If T ⊆ 2

is an infinite tree, then [ T ] = ∅.
(ii) If T
0
⊇ T
1
. . . is a decreasing sequence of trees with [ T
n
] = ∅ for every
n, and intersection T
ω
= ∩
n∈ω
T
n
, then [ T
ω
] = ∅.
(iii) If ¦(
i
¦
i∈ω
is a countable family of closed sets such that ∩
i∈F
(
i
= ∅ for
every finite set F ⊆ ω, then ∩
i∈ω
(
i
= ∅ also.
(iv) Finite subcover. Any open cover ¦^
σ
¦
σ∈A
⊇ 2
ω
has a finite open
subcover ¦^
σ
¦
σ∈F
⊇ 2
ω
for some finite subset F ⊆ A.
32
7.3 Dense Open Subsets of Cantor Space
Definition 7.5. Let o be Cantor space 2
ω
or Baire space ω
ω
.
(i) A set / ⊆ o is dense if (∀σ) (∃f ~ σ) [ f ∈ / ].
(ii) A set / ⊆ o is dense open if
(8) (∀τ)(∃σ _ τ)(∀f ~ σ) [ f ∈ / ].
(iii) Let T ⊆ 2

be a tree. A point f ∈ [ T ] is isolated in [ T ] if
(9) (∃σ)[ [ T
σ
] = ¦ f ¦ ].
We say that σ isolates f because ^
σ
∩[ T ] = ¦f ¦. If f is not isolated, then
f is a limit point.
(iv) A space o is separable if it has a countable base of open sets. (Both
Cantor space and Baire space are separable.)
(v) A class B ⊆ o is G
δ
, i.e., boldface Π
0
2
, if B = ∩
i
/
i
a countable
intersection of open sets /
i
.
After open and closed sets, much attention is paid in point set topology
to G
δ
sets (see Oxtoby[1971]). If the open sets /
i
are also dense open, then
they have special significance. Banach-Mazur games can be used for find-
ing a point f ∈ ∩
i
/
i
where the the sets /
i
are dense and open. This is
the paradigm for the finite extension constructions in computability theory
and oracle constructions as Kleene and Post, especially the Finite Extension
Paradigm of Kleene and Post, which we use to construct sets and degrees
meeting an countable sequence of “requirements.” Meeting a given require-
ment R
i
amounts to meeting the corresponding dense open set /
i
.
7.4 Effectively Open and Closed Sets
Definition 7.6. (i) If A ⊆ 2

is c.e. and / = ^
A
, then / is effectively
(computably) open.
(ii) If ( = 2
ω
−^
A
for A c.e., or equivalently if ( = [ T ] for a computable
tree T ⊆ 2

, then ( is effectively (computably) closed.
(iii) ( ⊆ 2
ω
is a Π
0
1
class if there is a computable relation R(x) such that
(10) ( = ¦f : (∀x) R(f(x))¦.
33
We call this lightface Π
0
1
because it is defined in (10) by a universal quantifier
outside of a computable relation R(x).
(iv) A set ( ⊆ 2
ω
is boldface Π
1
if there is some set S ⊆ ω such that
( = ¦f : (∀x) R
S
(f(x))¦,
and we say ( is in Π
S
1
. Here R
S
denotes a relation computable in the set S
which we call the parameter determining R
S
. A set / ⊂ 2
ω
is boldface Σ
1
or Σ
S
1
if its complement 2
ω
−/ is boldface Π
1
or Π
S
1
.
Theorem 7.7. The open (closed) sets of 2
ω
are exactly the boldface Σ
1

1
) sets and any boldface set is lightface in some parameter A.
Proof. If / is open, then / = ^
A
for some countable set A. Now A de-
termines exactly which σ contribute in the countable union / = ∪
σ∈A
^
σ
.
Hence, if we fix A as a parameter, then the definition and properties become
lightface Σ
A
1
, i.e., effectively open relative to the oracle A. (But this entire
section is about working relative to an oracle.)
We often convert an open set / = ^
A
into the realm of computability
theory as follows. We: (1) usually fix the parameter A and do a construction
which is computable relative to the parameter A; (2) often replace the open
set ^
A
by its complement the closed set ( = ^
A
; and (3) replace the closed
set by ( = [ T
A
] for a A-computable tree T. By fixing the parameter A we
can apply all the methods of this chapter on A-computable constructions,
such as the Recursion Theorem, construction of an A-c.e. set B, and so
forth.
Theorem 7.8. A class ( is a Π
0
1
class iff ( is effectively closed, i.e., ( = [ T ]
for some computable tree T.
Proof. (=⇒). Let ( = ¦ f : (∀x) R(f(x)) ¦ for R computable. Define a
computable tree T = ¦ σ : (∀τ ⊆ σ)[R(τ)] ¦. Then [ T ] = (.
(⇐=). Let ( = [ T ] for T a computable tree. Define R(σ) iff σ ∈ T. Then
¦f : (∀x) R(f(x))¦ = [ T ].
7.5 Continuous Functions on Cantor Space
In elementary calculus courses a continuous function is usually defined with
δ and concepts or with limits. In advanced analysis or topology courses
34
the more general definition is presented that a function F is continuous iff
the image of every basic open set is open. We state continuity now for
functionals on the Cantor space 2
ω
. For arbitrary topological spaces an
open set is an arbitrary union of basic open sets, but for Cantor space we
may take countable unions.
Definition 7.9. (i) A functional Ψ on Cantor space 2
ω
is continuous if for
every τ ∈ 2

there is a countable set X
τ
such that
(11) Ψ
−1
(^
τ
) = ∪ ¦ ^
σ
: σ ∈ X
τ
¦.
By identifying string σ
y
with code number y defined in Definition 7.1 (iii)
we can think of X
τ
as a subset of ω.
(ii) A functional Ψ on Cantor space 2
ω
is total if Ψ
A
(x) is defined for every
A ⊆ ω and x ∈ ω, i.e., if (∀A)(∃B)(∀x)[ Ψ
A
(x) = B(x) ].
Theorem 7.10. Let Ψ be a continuous functional on Cantor Space 2
ω
.
Then Ψ is total iff for each set X
τ
of (11) there is a finite subset

X
τ
⊆ X
τ
such that,
(12) 2
ω
⊆ ∪ ¦ ^
σ
: σ ∈

X
τ
¦.
Proof. (⇐=). Given such

X
τ
for every τ we see that Ψ is total by (12).
(=⇒). Assume Ψ is total. Then for every τ there is a countable set X
τ
which covers 2
ω
in the sense of (12). Now the Compactness Theorem asserts
that any open cover of Cantor space 2
ω
has a finite subcover. Therefore, we
can replace every set X
τ
by a finite subset

X
τ
.
Note that this involves only compactness and has no computable content,
although it is usually presented in its effective analogue as the theorem that
Φ
e
is total iff it is a truth-table reduction.
7.6 Effectively Continuous Functionals
A Turing functional Φ
e
is not only continuous but effectively continuous in
the following sense.
Theorem 7.11. For Φ
e
define for every τ ∈ 2

the set of strings
(13) X
e
τ
= ¦ σ : (∃s)( ∀x < [τ[ ) [ Φ
σ
e,s
(x)↓ = τ(x) ] ¦.
Then X
e
τ
is c.e. and uniformly so in the sense that there is a computable
function h(e, τ) such that W
h(e,τ)
= X
e
τ
.
35
Proof. Use the Oracle Graph G
e
. Identify string σ with ^
σ
. Now the set of
strings ¦ X
e
τ
: τ ∈ 2
ω
¦ witnesses that the functional Φ
e
is continuous.
Definition 7.12. Since X
e
τ
is not only countable but also computably enu-
merable uniformly in e the functional Φ
e
is effectively continuous, i.e., that
X
e
τ
is a computably enumerable set of strings.
7.7 Continuous Functions are Relatively Computable
We showed that any Turing functional is continuous, indeed effectively con-
tinuous. Now we prove that any continuous functional on 2
ω
is a Turing
functional relative to some real parameter X ⊆ ω and therefore is effectively
continuous relative to X.
Theorem 7.13. Suppose Ψ is a continuous functional on 2
ω
. Then Ψ is a
Turing functional relative to some real parameter X ⊆ ω.
Proof. Since Ψ is continuous, the inverse image of every basic open set ^
τ
,
τ ∈ 2

, is open and therefore is a countable union of basic open sets.
Hence, (identifying strings σ with their code numbers as integers) there is a
set X
τ
⊆ ω such that,
Ψ
−1
( ^
τ
) = ∪ ¦ ^
σ
: σ ∈ X
τ
¦.
Therefore, the set X = ⊕¦X
τ
: τ ∈ 2

¦ provides a complete oracle for
calculating Ψ : 2
ω
→ 2
ω
.
8 Bounded Reducibilities
8.1 A Matrix M
x
for Bounded Reducibilities
A bounded reducibility is a Turing reducibility Φ
A
e
(x) with a computable
function h(x) which bounds the use function, i.e., ϕ
A
e
(x) ≤ h(x). Given
h(x) imagine a matrix M
x
whose rows are all the strings σ of length h(x).
The action on x is entirely determined by the action of Φ
σ
e
(x) for these rows
σ ∈ M
x
. For example, if B ≤
m
A via a computable function f(x) then
this reduction is bounded by h(x) = f(x) and x ∈ B iff σ(f(x)) = 1 where
σ ≺ A, i.e., where σ is an initial segment of A. In Definition 7.1 (iii) we
defined σ
y
to be the string with canonical index y derived from D
y
. This
gives a method for indexing the rows σ
y
∈ M
x
.
We begin in '8.2 with the most general bounded reducibility called
bounded Turing reducibility (B ≤
bT
A) where we are given only the com-
putable bound h(x), i.e., only the matrix M
x
. In '8.3 we study the more
36
restrictive case of truth-table reducibility (B ≤
tt
A) where Φ
σ
e
(x) converges
for every x and every row σ ∈ M
x
. If Φ
σ
e
(x) diverges for even one x and
σ ∈ M
x
then the reduction is a partial bT-reduction, but if it converges for
every x and every σ ∈ M
x
then it gives a genuine truth-table as in beginning
logic courses as defined in Theorem 8.3 (iii). This convergence on all strings
σ
y
∈ M
x
is the key defining property for a tt-reduction as expressed in (14).
8.2 Bounded Turing Reducibility
Definition 8.1. (i) A set B is bounded Turing reducible (bT-reducible) to
a set A (B ≤
bT
A) if there is a Turing reduction Φ
A
e
= B and a computable
function h(x) such that the use ϕ
A
e
(x) ≤ h(x).
(ii) A set B is identity bounded Turing reducible to A (B ≤
ibT
A) if B ≤
bT
A
with h(x) = x.
The bT and ibT reductions occur naturally in several parts of the subject.
For example, often we are given a noncomputable c.e. set A and we construct
a simple set B ≤
T
A by simple permitting where an element x is allowed to
enter B at stage some stage only if some y ≤ x has just entered A. When
Ax has settled then Bx has settled also, and hence B ≤
ibT
A.
More recently, ibT has occurred in applications of computability to dif-
ferential geometry in Soare [2004] and Csima-Soare [ta], as described later,
and ibT reducibility has also been used in applications to algorithmic ran-
domness and Kolmogorov complexity. Barmpalias and Lewis [ta] have shown
the nondensity of the ibT-degrees of c.e. sets.
8.3 Truth-Table Reductions
Definition 8.2. A set B is truth-table reducible to set a A (B ≤
tt
A) if
B ≤
bT
A via Φ
A
e
= B and h(x) as in Definition 8.1, and also
(14) (∀x)(∀σ)[ [σ[ = h(x) =⇒ Φ
σ
e
(x)↓ ].
Theorem 8.3. [Truth-Table Theorem, Nerode]. The following defi-
nitions of tt-reducible are equivalent.
(i) B ≤
tt
A as defined in Definition 8.2 and (14).
(ii) Φ
A
e
= B for some total Φ
X
e
that is (∀X)(∃Y )(∀x)[ Φ
X
e
(x) = Y (x) ].
37
(iii) B ≤
tt
A via Φ
A
e
and h(x) as in Definition 8.2. In addition, there is a
computable function g(x) such that
D
g(x)
= ¦ y : [σ
y
[ = h(x) & Φ
σy
e
(x) = 1 ¦.
(iv) There exist computable functions g and h such that, for all x,
x ∈ B ⇐⇒ (∃z ∈ D
g(x
) [ A(h(x) + 1) = D
z
].
Proof. The implications (i) =⇒ (ii), (iii) =⇒ (i), and (iii) ⇐⇒ (iv) are
obvious. It remains to prove (ii) =⇒ (iii).
(ii) =⇒ (iii). Uniformly in x we can effectively enumerate the set
U
x
= ¦ σ : Φ
σ
e
(x)↓ ¦.
Since Φ
e
is total apply the Compactness Theorem 7.4 (iv) to get a finite
subset V
x
⊆ U
x
such that ∪¦ ^
σ
: σ ∈ V
x
¦ ⊇ 2
ω
. Define h(x) and g(x) by
h(x) = max¦ [σ[ : σ ∈ V
x
¦.
D
g(x)
= ¦ y : [σ
y
[ = h(x) & Φ
σy
e
(x) = 1 ¦.
Remark 8.4. Post [1944, '6] introduced the first definition of B ≤
tt
A.
For every integer n he required a effective procedure to produce integers
k, and m
1
, m
2
. . . m
k
. He then drew a diagram of a matrix with columns
m
1
, . . . , m
k
and 2
k
rows with individual entries of + for x ∈ A and − for
x / ∈ A. Letting h(x) be the maximum of the ¦m
i
¦
i≤k
, filling in all columns
less than h(x), and replacing + by 1 and − by 0 we have exactly the matrix
M
x
described in '8.1. Next Post drew a vertical line to the right of this
matrix and added an extra column such that an entry v
z
in this column
following row R
z
indicated that if A satisfies row R
z
then x ∈ B iff v
z
= +.
Post’s extra column converted the matrix M
x
into a total reduction
because A had to extend exactly one of the rows R
z
and then the value
for B(x) was completely specified by v
z
given in advance. Therefore, Post’s
original definition [1944] of B ≤
tt
A is virtually identical in intuition and
description to our Definition 8.2 above where we could attach to matrix
M
x
an extra column with the value Φ
σ
e
(x) on row σ. In both cases the
crucial point is that Φ
σ
e
(x) is defined for every string of length h(x) before
examining the oracle A. Property (iv) of B ≤
tt
A has been used in the
38
past e.g., Soare [1987, p. 83] and is short and slick but is does not give the
necessary elegance and intuition for beginning students.
Turing reducibility was not well understood in 1944 and an understand-
ing of it in its modern state emerged only gradually during the 1940’s and
1950’s. Post’s tt-reducibility in 1944 was understood at once. Therefore,
in 1959 Friedberg and Rogers introduced wtt-reducibility (B ≤
wtt
A) as
a weakening of tt-reducibility which was already a strengthening of ≤
T
.
Therefore, the concept of wtt has distance two from the central concept ≤
T
.
The concept of bounded Turing reducibility (bT), which has the same defini-
tion as wtt, goes immediately to the main concept of bounding the queried
information by a computable function h(x). Thus, ≤
bT
has distance one
from the main reducibility of ≤
T
. The concept of tt-reducibility is tied to
the totality of the reduction Φ
A
e
which is exactly what bT-reducibility lacks.
Also bT is more recognizable than wtt whose meaning cannot be guessed
from its name.
8.4 Difference of c.e. sets, n-c.e., and ω-c.e. sets
The Limit Lemma characterized sets A ≤
T

as those such that A = lim
s
A
s
for a computable sequence ¦A
s
¦
s∈ω
. Now consider special cases based upon
how many times the approximation changes on x. These notions are more
general than c.e. sets A but not the most general case of A ≤
T

.
Definition 8.5. (i) A set D is the difference of c.e. sets (d.c.e.) if D = A−B
where A and B are c.e. sets.
(ii) The set A is omega-c.e. (written ω-c.e.) if there is a computable sequence
¦A
s
¦
s∈ω
with A
0
= ∅ and a computable function g(x) which bounds the
number of changes in the approximation ¦A
s
¦
s∈ω
in the following sense,
(15) A = lim
s
A
s
& [ ¦ s : A
s
(x) = A
s+1
(x) ¦ [ ≤ g(x).
(iii) For n ∈ ω the set A is n-c.e. if g(x) ≤ n.
For example, the only 0-c.e. set is ∅, the 1-c.e. sets are the usual c.e. sets,
and the 2-c.e. sets are the d.c.e. sets. The next theorem gives an elegant
characterization of ω-c.e. sets.
Theorem 8.6. The following are equivalent.
(i) A ≤
bT

.
(ii) A is ω-c.e.
(iii) A ≤
tt

.
39
Proof. Clearly, (iii) implies (i).
(i) =⇒ (ii). Suppose Φ

e
= A with computable bound g(x) ≥ ϕ

e
(x). Let
A
s
(x) = Φ

e
(x)[ s ] where we may speed up the computation so the latter is
always defined. Now A
s+1
(x) = A
s
(x) only if some element z ≤ g(x) enters

which can happen at most g(x) + 1 times, once for each z ∈ [0, g(x)].
(ii) =⇒ (iii). Assume A = lim
s
A
s
satisfies (15) via g(x). Define the c.e.
change set C by
C = ¦ 'k, x` : 1 < k ≤ [ ¦s : A
s
(x) = A
s+1
(x)¦ [ ¦.
(Intuitively, whenever A
s
(x) = A
s+1
(x) we put into C the least element
of the form 'k, x`, i.e., on row ω
[x]
, not already in C.) Therefore, [C
[x]
[ is
the number of changes on x during the approximation, and [C
[x]
[ ≤ g(x)
by hypothesis (ii). Furthermore, A(x) = 1 iff [C
[x]
[ is odd, because the
approximation changes between 0 and 1 starting with 0.
First build a truth-table to demonstrate that A ≤
tt
C. For a given x
the truth-table has rows of width g(x) as in Definition 8.2 (ii). For each
k ≤ g(x) construct a row beginning with k many 1

s followed by all 0

s.
Now to tt-compute from C whether x ∈ A compute k = [C
x
[. Next find the
row with k many 1’s. Now A(x) = 1 iff k is odd. Hence, A ≤
tt
C. However,
C is c.e. Hence, C ≤
m
0

and therefore A ≤
tt
0

.
This result shows the difference between T-reductions and tt-reductions.
First, the assumption on h(x) ensures that A ≤
bT
D. Second, the approx-
imation always begins with A
s
(x) = 0 for s = 0 and changes between 0
and 1 because all values are in ¦0, 1¦ rather than in ω. Therefore, we can
make up a row in the truth-table which gives value for A(x) based only on
the number of changes. This ensures that A ≤
tt
D. This case is unusual
since most reductions we consider only produce A ≤
T
B for some set B and
sometimes produce A ≤
bT
B as in permitting arguments.
9 Online Computing
The original implementations of computing devices were generally offline
devices such as calculators or batch processing devices. However, in recent
years the implementations have been increasingly online computing devices
which can access or interact with some external database or other device.
The Turing o-machine is a better model to study them because the Turing
a-machine lacks this online capacity.
40
Definition 9.1. (i) An online or interactive computing process is one which
interacts with its environment, for example a computer communicating with
an external data base such at the World Wide Web.
(ii) An offline computing process is one which begins with a program and
input data, and proceeds internally, not interacting with any external device.
This includes a calculator, and batch processing devices where a user handed
a deck of punched IBM cards to an operator, who fed them to the computer
and produced paper output later.
There are many descriptions in the computing literature about online
and interactive processes. In [Goldin-Smolka-Wegner] a chapter by Yuri
Gurevich, Interactive Algorithms 2005 is described,
“In this chapter, Gurevich asserts that computer science is largely
about algorithms, and broadens the notion of algorithms to in-
clude interaction by allowing intra-step interaction of an algo-
rithm with its environment.”
About the chapter, A Theory of Interactive Computation by Jan van
Leeuwen and Jiri Wiedermann, the book states,
“This chapter asks what a computational theory of interactive,
evolving programs should look like. The authors point out that a
theory of interactive computation must necessarily lead beyond
the classical, finitary models of computation. A simple model of
interactive computing is presented consisting of one component
and an environment, interacting using single streams of input
and output signals.”
It appears that the Turing o-machine is a good theoretical model to
analyze an interactive process because there is usually a fixed algorithm
or procedure at the core, which by Turing’s thesis we can identify with a
Turing a-machine, and there is a mechanism for the process to communicate
with its environment, which when coded into integers may be regarded as
a Turing type oracle. Under the Post-Turing Thesis 6.1 these real world
online or interactive processes can be described by a Turing oracle machine.
In real world computing the oracle may be called a database or an en-
vironment. A laptop obtaining data from the World Wide Web is a good
example. In the real world the database would not be literally infinite but
may appear so (like the web) and is usually too large to be conveniently
downloaded into the local computer. Sometimes the local computer is called
the “client” and the remote device the “server.”
41
9.1 Turing Machines and Online Processes
We could continue analyzing to what extent Turing oracle machines can
model modern online processes, but let us now examine the reverse direction,
that o-machines are online while a-machines are not. The following points
appear self-evident.
• Turing oracle machines are online. An o-machine has fixed program
but has the capacity to interact with its environment and receive new
data during its computation.
• The original Turing a-machines are not online. A Turing a-machine,
even a universal machine, begins with a fixed program and fixed input
and proceeds without further outside input until (if ever) it halts.
• A large number and rapidly increasing number of computing processes
in the real world are online or interactive. See the authors in [Goldin-
Smolka-Wegner] for only a few.
• A large number of books presenting an introduction to computability
mention Turing oracle machines and relative computability very late
in the book or not at all.
• A large number of books with articles on Turing and the Church-
Turing Thesis do not mention Turing oracle machines or relative com-
putability at all, e.g., Christof Teuscher [2004].
Discussing only Turing a-machines in modern texts, or only the Church-
Turing Thesis, and not the Post-Turing Thesis on oracle computers, is like
discussing only batch processing machines of the 1950’s long after the emer-
gence of online computing.
9.2 Trial and Error Computing
We expect Turing a-machines and o-machines to be absolutely correct. How-
ever, there are many computing processes in the real world which give a se-
quence of approximations to the final answer. Turing considered machines
which make mistakes. In his talk to the London Mathematical Society,
February 20, 1947, quoted in Hodges, p. 360–361, Turing said,
“I would say that fair play must be given to the machine. Instead
of it sometimes giving no answer we could arrange that it gives
42
occasional wrong answers. But the human mathematician would
likewise make blunders when trying out new techniques. It is
easy for us to regard these blunders as not counting and give him
another chance, but the machine would probably be allowed no
mercy. In other words if a machine is expected to be infallible, it
cannot also be intelligent. There are several theorems which say
exactly that. But these theorems say nothing about how much
intelligence may be displayed if a machine makes no pretence at
infallibility.
Hillary Putnam [1965] described trial and error predicates as ones for
which there is a computable function which arrives at the correct answer
after a finite number of mistakes. In modern terminology this is called
a limit computable function as described in Soare [1987] or Soare [CTA]
Chapter 3. This is a model for many processes in the real world which allow
finitely many mistakes but gradually move closer to the correct answer.
9.3 The Limit Lemma
There are several different approaches for computing with finite errors.
Definition 9.2. A computable sequence of computable sets ¦B
s
¦
s∈ω
is a
computable (∆
0
) approximating sequence for a set B if B = lim
s
B
s
. If there
is such a sequence we say that B is limit computable,
Lemma 9.3. [Limit Lemma, Shoenfield, 1959]. The following are
equivalent.
(i) B ≤
T
A for some c.e. “oracle set” A.
(ii) B is limit computable.
(iii) B ∈ ∆
2
, that is, B is is both two quantifier forms.
Proof. (See Soare [1987] or Soare [CTA] Lemma 3.3.6.)
Now in the real world imagine an example of a computing process with
error such as: a robot learning a maze; a financial trader receiving informa-
tion from around the world updated every second; a meteorologist predicting
the weather a week from now given constantly updated weather conditions
today. In our idealized model we assume that the individual makes finitely
many errors during the process ¦B
t
¦
t∈T
for time periods t ∈ T but even-
tually gets the correct answer. (In practice, the final answer may not be
43
exactly correct in these examples, but is presumably more accurate than
the first approximation B
0
. The sequences of improving approximations,
even if not exact, are usually useful in financial trading, meteorology, and
other approximations in real time.)
9.4 Two Models for Computing With Error
9.4.1 The Limit Computable Model
In the limit computable or approximation model we have a sequence of
Turing programs ¦P
t
: t ∈ T¦ so that P
t
computes function g
t
at time t ∈ T.
There is not necessarily any connection between different programs and we
may have to compute all over again with a new program as we pass from
time t to t + 1.
Suppose the financial trader in Chicago receives data every second t ∈ T
about currency prices in London, Milan, New York and Tokyo. The config-
uration at his trading desk may be described using the Limit Lemma by a
computable function where g
t
is the computable characteristic function of
B
t
, the configuration of his computation at the end of time t. The com-
putable function g
t
gives an algorithm to compute the condition B
t
at time
t but it gives no relationship between B
t
and B
t+1
. It will not be possible
for the trader to write a new program every second. How will the trader
write a program to uniformly compute the index g
t
for t ∈ T?
9.4.2 The Online Model
By the Limit Lemma there is a c.e. set A (or even a ∆
0
2
set) and oracle
machine Φ
e
such that B = Φ
A
e
. Now the trader can program the algorithm
Φ
e
into his laptop once and for all at the start of the trading day. Every
second t ∈ T he receives from New York and abroad the latest quotes A
t
which enter directly into his computer by an internet connection. He does
not (and cannot) change the program Φ
e
every second. His algorithm simply
receives the “oracle” information A
t
from the internet as it is continually
updated, and computes the approximation B
t
(x) = Φ
At
e
(x). His program
then executes a trade when the algorithm determines that conditions are
favorable. It is difficult to see how this trader could have carried out his
business using a batch processing, Turing a-machine model, instead of an
online model.
44
10 Three Displacements in Computability Theory
The dictionary defines “displacement” to be the moving of something from
its rightful place or position, often when replaced by something else. There
are three important issues in computability which have at one time been
displaced from their correct or proper positions as evaluated by historical
and scientific criteria. These issues are at the very heart of the subject
and they define how we think about computability. We now examine these
three issues one by one in the next three sections. These items may have
been displaced accidentally or without conscious thought or decision, simply
acting from the exigencies of the situation at the time, but are not consistent
with a careful scientific analysis later.
When computabiliy theory originated in the 1930’s it was a very small
field attempting to consolidate its ideas. Furthermore, three of its leaders,
G¨odel, Turing, and Church effectively left the field after 1940 and had little
direct influence thereafter on its development, although Church supervised
the Ph.D. theses of many prominent researchers in the field. After 1940
the field was developed and promulgated primarily by Stephen C. Kleene
with some additional influence by Emil Post as described earlier. In dedicat-
ing his book Degrees of Unsolvability [1971] Shoenfield recognized Kleene’s
overwhelming influence,
“Dedicated to S.C. Kleene who made recursive function theory
into a theory.”
This is entirely accurate and without Kleene’s leadership we would not have
the field as we know it today. However, a number of changes took place after
1940, perhaps by accident, that were not consistent with the original devel-
opment of computability in the 1930’s and would not have been approved
of by G¨odel and Turing.
11 “Computable” versus “Recursive”
Starting in 1936, Church and Kleene used the term “recursive” to mean
“computable” even though Turing and G¨odel later objected. Kleene later
introduced the term “recursive function theory” for the subject although
G¨odel disagreed (see below). This was the first time in history that the
term “recursive” which had meant roughly “inductive” acquired the addi-
tional meaning “computable” of “calculable.” After 1996 the term the term
‘recursive” was again used only to mean “inductive” not “computable” or
45
“calculable.” From 1931 to 1934 Church and Kleene had used the λ-definable
functions as the formal equivalent of effectively calculable functions, and
Church had first proposed his thesis privately to G¨odel in that form.
11.1 Church Defends Church’s Thesis with “Recursive”
Recall Church’s Thesis 2.1 (First Version) [1934] “A function is effectively
calculable if and only if it is λ-definable.” When G¨odel strongly rejected to
this thesis Church turned instead to G¨odel’s own Herbrand-G¨odel general
recursive functions as a formalism and proposed in [1935] and [1936] the
well-known form of his thesis, Church’s Thesis 2.2 [1936] A function on the
positive integers is effectively calculable if and only if it is recursive.
Church and Kleene knew almost immediately and published by 1936
the proof of the formal equivalence of recursive functions with λ-definable
functions. After seeing G¨odel’s lectures in 1934 Church and Kleene dropped
the λ-definable functions and adopted the recursive functions. This was
not because of the inadequacy of λ-definable functions in comparison to the
recursive functions. Indeed Church seems to have preferred the λ-definable
functions and caused Turing to write his thesis [1939] in that formalism.
Church was very eager for mathematicians to accept his thesis and he
know that the recursive functions were more familiar to a mathematical au-
dience than λ-definable ones. Church and Kleene used the second version
of Church’s Thesis above, phrased in terms of recursive functions primarily
for public relations as Kleene [1981] explained, “I myself, perhaps unduly
influenced by rather chilly receptions from audiences around 1933–35 to dis-
quisitions on λ-definability, chose, after general recursiveness had appeared,
to put my work in that format. . . . ” Church and Kleene were simply doing
what most scientists do, arrange the work in a framework which will be
understandable and appealing to as large a scientific audience as possible.
Ironically, this is exactly what caused the change in 1996 from “recursive”
back to “computable” because in 1996 the term “computable” was much
better understood by a general audience than “recursive.” The irony is that
the term “computable” was there all along and was preferred by Turing and
G¨odel.
11.2 Church and Kleene Define “Recursive” as “Computable”
By 1936 Kleene and Church had begun thinking of the word “recursive”
to mean “computable.” Church had seen his first thesis rejected by G¨odel
and was heavily invested in the acceptance of his 1936 thesis in terms of
46
recursive functions. Without the acceptance of this thesis Church had no
unsolvable problem. Church wrote in [1936, p. 96] printed in Davis [1965]
that a “recursively enumerable set” is one which is the range of a recursive
function. This is apparently the first appearance of the term “recursively
enumerable” in the literature and the first appearance of “recursively” as
an adverb meaning “effectively” or “computably.”
In the same year Kleene [1936, p. 238] cited in Davis [1965] [p. 238]
mentioned a “recursive enumeration” and noted that there is no recursive
enumeration of Herbrand-G¨odel systems of equations which gives only the
systems which define the (total) recursive functions. By a “recursive enu-
meration” Kleene states that he means “a recursive sequence (i.e., the suc-
cessive values of a recursive function of one variable).” Post [1944], under
the influence of Church and Kleene, adopted this terminology of “recursive”
and “recursively enumerable” over his own terminology [1943], [1944] of “ef-
fectively generated set,” “normal set,” “generated set.” Thereafter, it was
firmly established.
11.3 G¨ odel Rejects “Recursive Function Theory”
Neither Turing nor G¨odel ever used the word “recursive” to mean “com-
putable.” G¨odel never used the term “recursive function theory” to name
the subject; when others did G¨odel reacted sharply negatively, as related by
Martin Davis.
In a discussion with G¨odel at the Institute for Advanced Study in
Princeton about 1952–54, Martin Davis casually used the term
“recursive function theory” as it was used then. Davis related,
“To my surprise, G¨odel reacted sharply, saying that the term in
question should be used with reference to the kind of work Rosza
Peter did.”
(See Peter’s work on recursions in [1934] and[1951].) By 1990 the situation
had become very difficult. Most people access to a personal computer on
their desks and the terms of computing were familiar to the general popula-
tion but “recursive” was limited to very small number who mainly associated
it with a first year programming course or a definition by induction on math-
ematics and almost never with computability. So few people understood the
meaning of “recursive” that by 1990 I had to begin my papers with,
“Let f be a recursive function (that is, a computable function),”
as if I were writing in Chinese and translating back into English.
47
11.4 The Ambiguity in the Term “Recursive”
The traditional meaning of “recursive” as “inductive” led to ambiguity.
Kleene often wrote of calculation and algorithms dating back to the Baby-
lonians, the Greeks and other early civilizations. However, Kleene [1981b,
p. 44] wrote,
“I think we can say that recursive function theory was born
there ninety-two years ago with Dedekind’s Theorem 126 (‘Satz
der Definition durch Induktion’) that functions can be defined
by primitive recursion.”
Did he mean that recursion and inductive definition began with Dedekind or
that computability and algorithms began there? The latter would contradict
his several other statements, such as Kleene [1988, p. 19] where he wrote,
“The recognition of algorithms goes back at least to Euclid (c. 330 B.C.).”
When one uses a term like “recursive” to also mean “computable” or “algo-
rithmic” as Kleene did, then one is never sure whether a particular instance
means “calculable” or “inductive” and our language has become indistinct.
Returning “recursive” to its original meaning of “inductive” has made its
use much clearer. We do not need another word to mean “computable.” We
already have one.
11.5 Changing “Recursive” Back to “Inductive”
By 1996 the confusion had become intolerable. I wrote an article on Com-
putability and Recursion for the Bulletin of Symbolic Logic [1996] on the
history and scientific reasons for why we should use “computable” and not
“recursive” to mean “calculable.” “Recursive” should mean “inductive” as
is had for Dedekind and Hilbert. At first few were willing to make such a
dramatic change, overturning a sixty year old tradition of Kleene, and the
words “computability theory” and “computably enumerable (c.e.) set” did
not come tripping from the lips. However, in a few months more people
were convinced by the undeniable logic of the situation. Three years later
at the A.M.S. conference in Boulder, Colorado referenced in Soare [2000],
most researchers, especially those under forty years old, had adopted the
new terminology and conventions. Changing back from from “recursive” to
“computable” during 1996–1999 has had a number of advantages.
Historical Accuracy. The founders of the two key models of com-
putabilty, Turing and G¨odel, had never used “recursive” to mean com-
putable and indeed had objected when it was so used. The object of
48
everyone was to formally capture the informal concept of “effectively
calculable” which Turing machines did to G¨odel’s satisfaction, while
at first G¨odel’s own model of Herbrand-G¨odel recursive functions did
not. The object was never to understand the notion of recursions
or inductive definitions. In 1935 Church adopted G¨odel’s recursive
functions as a definition of effectively calculable before seeing Turing
machines As Kleene relates, Church and Kleene did this as a matter
of public relations to relate to a concept mathematicians could under-
stand, not in an attempt to better understand the nature of recursion
and inductive definition.
Scientific Accuracy. The words “calculate” and “compute” are very
close in the dictionary, the former being a bit more general. The
word “recursive” means a procedure characterized by recurrence or
repetition from the Latin verb “recurrere,” to run back. The word
has nothing to do with “calculate” or “compute.” The general public
understands the first two words in this context. To the extent that they
have any idea about “recursive” they understand it in this context.
For example, a first year programming course speaks of definition by
iteration versus definition by recursion.
Name Recognition. Suppose a student is scanning a catalogue for a
course to take and sees the course title “Recursive Function Theory”
versus “Computability Theory.” Which will give him more information
about the content of the course? Should a fresh Ph.D. apply for jobs
under the general area of his work as the first or second? Should a
professor write an abstract for his lecture at another university under
the first title or second?
Names do matter. They mattered to Church and Kleene in 1936 when
they changed from the term “λ-definable function” to “recursive function”
to achieve greater name recognition among mathematicians and to make
Church’s Thesis more convincing before the appearance of Turing. Names
matter today as we try to relate our specialty of computability to the world
of computers and algorithmic procedures all around us, a world partially
created by Turing.
49
12 Renaming it the “Computability Thesis?”
12.1 Kleene Called it “Thesis I” in [1943]
In the 1930’s both Church and Turing thought they were giving definitions
of an effectively calculable function, not putting forth a “thesis.” These were
not even called “theses” at all until Kleene [1943, p. 60] referred to Church’s
“definition” as “Thesis I.”
12.2 Kleene Named it “Church’s thesis” in [1952]
Later in his very influential book [1952] it is fascinating to see how Kleene’s
thinking and terminology progressed from “Thesis I” to “Church’s Thesis”
and not to “Turing’s Thesis” or the “Church-Turing Thesis.” Kleene [1952,
p. 300] took up where Kleene [1943] had left off.
“This heuristic evidence and other considerations led Church
1936 to propose the following thesis.
Thesis I. Every effectively calculable function (effectively decid-
able predicate) is general recursive.”
This is identical with what we previously called Church’s Thesis 2.2. Of
course, Kleene was aware of other similar “theses” advanced nearly simul-
taneously and he continued [1952, p.300],
“This thesis is also implicit in the conception of a computing
machine formulated by Turing 1936–7 and Post 1936.”
Next Kleene begins a subtle shift of terminology from “Thesis I” to
“Church’s thesis.” Apparently he did not feel it necessary to include Turing’s
name when he used the term “Church’s thesis.” Kleene wrote [1952, p.317]
began a new section '62 and called it “Church’s thesis” instead of “Thesis I”
as he had been doing. Kleene wrote,
“ '62. Church’s thesis. One of the main objectives of this and
the next chapter is to present the evidence for Church’s thesis
(Thesis I) '60.”
50
12.3 Kleene Dropped “Thesis I” for “Church’s thesis”
As Kleene progressed through [1952, '62, pp. 318–319] he dropped any ref-
erence to “Thesis I” and used only “Church’s thesis” with no mention of
Turing or Post in the thesis. He wrote [1952, p. 318–319],
“ Church’s thesis, by supplying a precise delimitation of all ef-
fectively calculable functions, . . . ”
“While we cannot prove Church’s thesis, since its role is to de-
limit precisely an hitherto vaguely conceived totality, we require
evidence that it cannot conflict with the intuitive notion which
it is supposed to complete; . . . ”
“The converse of Church’s thesis, i.e., that every general recur-
sive function ϕ is effectively calculable, we take to be already
confirmed by the intuitive notion (cf. '60).”
12.4 Evidence for the Computability Thesis
In one of the most familiar parts of the book, Kleene summarized the ev-
idence for “Church’s thesis” in [1952, '62, p. 319]. These arguments have
been cited in hundreds of computability books and papers for the last half
century. After some heuristic evidence in (A), Kleene presented perhaps
the most powerful evidence, the “(B) Equivalence of diverse formulations:”
such as the (Herbrand-G¨odel) general recursive functions, λ-definable func-
tions, Turing computable functions, and systems of Post [1943] and [1946] of
canonical and normal systems. Ironically, to clinch the evidence for Church’s
thesis Kleene began a new part (C) where he appealed to Turing’s work and
wrote,
“(C) Turing’s Concept of a Computing Machine.”
Turing’s computable functions [1936–7] are those which can be
computed by a machine of a kind which is designed, according
to his analysis, to reproduce all sorts of operations which a hu-
man computer could perform, working according to preassigned
instructions. Turing’s notion is thus the result of a direct at-
tempt to formulate mathematically the notion of effective calcu-
lability, while other notions arose differently and were afterwards
identified with effective calculability. Turing’s formulation hence
constitutes an independent statement of Church’s thesis.”
51
We see here the amalgamation of different meanings into a single term
(just as for “recursive” above). Kleene here was using the term “Church’s
thesis” to include Turing’s Thesis and Turing’s justification. Turing’s work
was to establish the connection between effectively calculable functions and
Turing computable functions in Turing’s Thesis 3.1. As an intensional
claim it had nothing to do with the recursive functions of Church’s The-
sis 2.2. It was only the equivalence of Turing computable functions first
with λ-definable functions and hence with recursive functions which links
them extensionally but not intensionally.
Remark 12.1. [The Computability Thesis Emerges]. It is exactly
here that Kleene introduces (without explicit mention) another convention
and term which has lasted until today. Kleene knows that the various for-
mal definitions all coincide extensionally, and he regards them interchange-
ably, regardless of their intensional or historical import. From now on when
Kleene uses the term “Church’s thesis” he means the following “Computabil-
ity Thesis.” Kleene omits Turing’s name from the thesis even though in part
(C) above he gave Turing credit as the only one who made a “direct attempt
to formulate mathematically the notion of effective calculability.”
Definition 12.2. [The Computability Thesis]. A function on the pos-
itive integers is effectively calculable if and only if it is recursive or Turing
computable, or defined by any of the other formalisms.
Note that the Computability Thesis is essentially the same as what we
have called the Church-Turing Thesis 3.2. It does not refer to one single man
or to one single formalism. The Computability Thesis, used extensively in
the subject, is usually listed under the name “Church’s Thesis” as in the
title of the new book [Olszewski, 2007] with no mention of Turing. Many
people today use “Church’s Thesis” in this way.
12.5 Who First Demonstrated the Computability Thesis?
Demonstrating something like the Computability Thesis requires two steps.
The Formalism. A formal mathematical definition for effectively calcula-
ble functions. Church [1936] proposed G¨odel’s general recursive func-
tions [1934]. Turing invented the new formalism of Turing machines
because this was closest to his idea of a mechanical process and be-
cause it lent itself to proving that any effectively calculable function
lay in this class.
52
The Demonstration. The second and perhaps more important step is to
prove that the informal notion of a person calculating a function can be
simulated by the formal model. This step is not a purely mathematical
one but it needs to be as convincing and logical as possible. We refer
to this step as a “demonstration” rather than a formal “proof.”
Although it is not a formal proof, this second step is so crucial that it has
been referred to as a “theorem” by Gandy and others. Gandy [1988, p. 82]
observed, “Turing’s analysis does much more than provide an argument for
‘Turing’s Thesis,’ it proves a theorem.”
3
Furthermore, as Gandy [1988,
pp. 83–84] pointed out, “Turing’s analysis makes no reference whatsoever to
calculating machines. Turing machines appear as a result, a codification, of
his analysis of calculations by humans.” Turing’s Thesis [1936, '9] stated
in Definition 3.1 is that every intuitively computable (effectively calculable)
function is computable by a Turing machine.
In contrast, Church used the Herbrand-G¨odel general recursive functions
as his formal model but even their inventor, G¨odel, was not convinced as
we have seen in '2 and '3. No modern book uses the H-G general recursive
formalism to define the effectively calculable functions.
A considerably more serious objection is that there was a flaw in Church’s
demonstration that every effectively calculable function is general recursive.
The flaw in Church’s argument [1936, '7] for his thesis was this. Church
began by defining an “effectively calculable” function to be one for which
“there exists an algorithm for the calculation of its values.” Church analyzed
the informal notion of the calculation of a value f(n) = m according to a
step-by-step approach (so called by Gandy [1988, p. 77]) from two points of
view, first by an application of an algorithm, and second as the derivation in
some formal system, because as he pointed out, G¨odel had shown that the
steps in his formal system P were primitive recursive. Following Davis [1958,
p. 64] or Shoenfield [1967, pp. 120–121] it is reasonable to suppose that the
calculation of f proceeds by writing expressions on a sheet of paper, and
that the expressions have been given code numbers, c
0
, c
1
, . . . c
n
. Define
'c
0
, c
1
, . . . c
n
` = p
c
0
0
p
c
1
1
. . . p
cn
n
. We say that the calculation is stepwise
recursive if there is a partial recursive function ψ such that ψ('c
0
, . . . , c
i
`) =
c
i+1
for all i, 0 ≤ i < n.
3
Gandy actually wrote “Church’s thesis” not “Turing’s thesis” as written here, but
surely Gandy meant Turing’s Thesis, i.e., the computability thesis, at least intensionally,
because Turing did not prove anything in [1936] or anywhere else about general recursive
functions.
53
If the basic steps are stepwise recursive, then it follows easily by the
Kleene Normal Form Theorem which Kleene had proved and communicated
to G¨odel before November, 1935 (see Kleene [1987b, p. 57]), that the entire
process is µ-recursive. The fatal weakness in Church’s argument was the
core assumption that the atomic steps were stepwise recursive, something
he did not justify. Gandy [1988, p. 79] and especially Sieg [1994, pp. 80, 87],
in their excellent analyses, brought out this weakness in Church’s argument.
Sieg [p. 80] wrote, “. . . this core does not provide a convincing analysis:
steps taken in a calculus must be of a restricted character and they are
assumed, for example by Church, without argument to be recursive.” Sieg
[p. 78] wrote, “It is precisely here that we encounter the major stumbling
block for Church’s analysis, and that stumbling block was quite clearly seen
by Church,” who wrote that without this assumption it is difficult to see
how the notion of a system of logic can be given any exact meaning at all.
It is exactly this stumbling block which Turing overcame by a totally new
approach.
12.6 The Computability Thesis and the Calculus
Why all the fuss over names? Why not simply use the term “Church’s
Thesis” invented by Kleene [1952], and let it refer to the “Computability
Thesis?” This is in fact what is widely (and incorrectly) done.
If we had to attach a single name to “the calculus” every time we men-
tioned it, whose name should it be? Isaac Newton began working on a form
of the calculus in 1666 but did not publish it until much later. Gottfried
Leibniz began work on the calculus in 1674 and published his account of the
differential calculus in 1684 and the integral calculus in 1686. Newton did
not publish it until 1687 although most believe he had been working on it
before Leibniz began in 1674. There was a great controversy about priority
up until Leibniz’s death in 1716. The British Royal Society handed down
a verdict in 1715 crediting Isaac Newton with the discovery of the calculus,
and stating that Leibniz was guilty of plagarism (although these charges
were later proved false). Newton was more established than Leibniz and
had vigorous supporters. Newton and his followers campaigned vigorously
for his position. The Wiki encylopedia wrote,
“Despite this ruling of the Royal Society, mathematics through-
out the eighteenth century was typified by an elaboration of the
differential and integral calculus in which mathematicians gen-
erally discarded Newton’s fluxional calculus in favor of the new
methods presented by Leibniz.”
54
12.7 Founders of Computability and the Calculus
There is a parallel between the development of the Calculus and the demon-
stration of the Computability Thesis.
1. Church and Turing both worked independently on it and came up with
different models.
2. Turing began slightly later than Church. Leibnitz began later than
Newton. Both Leibniz and Turing worked at a distance and indepen-
dently of Newton and Church, respectively, unaware of the work by
another researcher.
3. Turing’s model of Turing machines is overwhelmingly more appealing
and popular that Church’s model of the (Herbrand-G¨odel) general
recursive functions, a model which is rarely presented in any books
and never used for actual calculations in any courses. The general
recursive functions are used only in an historical discussion. (This
refers to the Herbrand-G¨odel general recursive functions. The Kleene
µ-recursive functions have other uses but are were not mentioned in
the original Church’s Thesis 2.2.)
4. For the calculus, despite the Royal Society ruling, “mathematicians
generally discarded Newton’s fluxional calculus in favor of the new
methods presented by Liebniz.”
5. In computer science, the Turing machines (and other calculating ma-
chines like register machines) dominate. The general recursive func-
tions are never seen. Kleene’s µ-recursive functions are sometimes
used in courses and mistakenly called recursive functions but to prove
that an effectively calculable function is µ-recursive requires a tedious
arithmetization as in G¨odel’s incompleteness theorem [1931] and is
virtually never done.
6. Newton was in the position of power with the Royal Society which
not only affirmed his claim but denied the claim by his rival Leibniz.
Church was the senior figure in computability (after G¨odel). Church’s
claim to the Computability Thesis was affirmed by his former Ph.D.
student Stephen Kleene [1952]. Kleene occasionally mentioned Tur-
ing’s Thesis and repeatedly used the Turing machine model and Tur-
ing’s demonstration of its success to demonstrate the Computability
Thesis. However, Kleene deliberately and overwhelmingly established
55
the phrase “Church’s thesis” to stand for the “Computability Thesis, ”
at a time when nobody called it a thesis and when the field was about
to rapidly expand in the 1950’s and 1960’s and would turn to Kleene
for direction as the last representative of the original computability
researchers of the 1930’s and the most prominent and influential of
all computability theorists in the 1950’s. The Royal Society was not
successful in excluding Leibniz from the calculus, but Kleene was cer-
tainly successful in excluding Turing’s name from the Computability
Thesis.
Virtually all the papers and books including Rogers [1967] and Soare
[1987] and many others followed Kleene’s lead. Unlike the calculus, the
participants, Church, Turing, and their followers, have given credit to the
others. The problem is simply that Kleene has not given Turing credit in
his naming of the Computability Thesis. Kleene could have called it “the
Computability Thesis” analogously with “the calculus.” We never refer to
“the Newton calculus” or the “Leibniz calculus.” Why do we need to give
a person’s name to the Computability Thesis? Kleene never denied credit
to Turing and in many places such as his books [1952] and [1967] he gives
Turing credit for the most intuitive presentation of computability. Kleene
just does not include Turing in the name he chose.
Remark 12.3. Kleene thought and wrote with tokens, words that are given
arbitrary and nonstandard meaning by the author: “recursive” means “com-
putable,” “Church’s Thesis” means the “Computability Thesis.” The arbi-
trary and sometimes misleading use of words has diminished our communi-
cations among ourselves and with other scientific and scholarly colleagues.
It is ambiguous to use “recursive” with both meanings, inductive and
computable, as we have seen. Second, it is simply wrong to use “Church’s
Thesis” to refer to a proposition first demonstrated by Turing and never
successfully demonstrated by Church. It would also be wrong to refer to
“the Newton Calculus” without mentioning Leibniz. Today we refer to “the
calculus” without any founder’s name. Why not call it simply, “the Com-
putability Thesis” and not “Church’s Thesis,” or the “Church-Turing The-
sis?” Which of the three terms is more understandable to an outsider who
has never heard about the subject?
56
13 Turing a-machines versus o-machines?
13.1 Turing, Post, and Kleene on Relative Computability
In '4 we have seen how Turing [1939, '4] briefly introduced an oracle machine
(o-machine) and how and in '5–'7 how Post developed relative computabil-
ity through the influential Kleene-Post [1954] paper. Kleene [1952, p. 314]
took up the theme of relative computabilty of a function from an oracle
set. Analogous to his version of Thesis I considered above, Kleene defined
Thesis I* to be the corresponding relative computability thesis which we
have called Post-Turing Thesis 6.1. He recommended this thesis but did not
give a separate justification. Kleene [1952, p. 314] wrote, “The evidence for
Thesis I will also apply to Thesis I*,” and on [1952, p. 319] he wrote,
“We now summarize the evidence for Church’s Thesis (and The-
sis I*, end '61) under three main headings (A)–(C), and one
other (D) which may be included under (A).”
13.2 Relative Computability Unifies Incomputability
The field of computability theory deals mostly with incomputable not com-
putable objects. The objects considered in degrees of unsolvability, in com-
putable model theory, in differential geometry as in Csima-Soare [2006] or
Soare [2004] all deal with incomputable objects. However, we should not
call the subject “incomputability theory” because the underlying theme is
the notion of relative computability as absolute because of the Oracle Graph
Theorem 4.5, and because it relates and unifies the myriad incomputable
objects.
13.3 The Key Concept of the Subject
The notion of an oracle machine and relative computability is the single
most important in the subject.
1. A Turing a-machine can easily be simulated by a Turing o-machine
and the latter is scarcely more complicated to explain.
2. Most of the objects considered in computability theory and applica-
tions to algebra, model theory, geometry, analysis and other fields are
incomputable not computable and relative computability unifies them.
57
3. Many if not most computing processes in the real world are online
or interactive processes, better modelled by an o-machine than an
a-machine.
4. A relative computability process Φ
A
e
corresponds to a continuous func-
tional on Cantor space analogous to continuous functions in analysis.
A function on Cantor space given by an a-machine is merely a constant
function.
13.4 When to Introduce Relative Computability
In view of the importance of relative computability, and online computing in
both theoretical results and real world computing it is surprising how many
computability books introduce oracle machines and Turing functionals so
late in the book or not at all. For example, Kleene’s book [1952] was the
first real book on computability theory and the principal reference for at
least fifteen years until Rogers [1967] appeared. Kleene introduced relative
computability in Chapter 11 on page 266 by adding the characteristic func-
tion of the oracle set A to the Herbrand-G¨odel general recursive functions.
Rogers [1967] took the Turing machine approach and immediately defined
computability using regular Turing machines (a-machines). Rogers quickly
became the most readable textbook on computability and remains a pop-
ular reference. Rogers introduced relative computability only in Chapter 9
on page 128 using Turing’s original definition [1939] of an ordinary Turing
machine with the additional capacity to consult an oracle A occasionally
during the computation. In another popular introduction, Computability,
Cutland [1980] introduces relative computability relatively late on page 167.
Boolos and Jeffrey in Computability and Logic [1974] do not discuss it at all.
The more recent and very extensive books by Odifreddi, Classical Recursion
Theory Vol. I [1989] and Vol. II [1999] introduce relative computability only
on page 175 by adding the characteristic function of oracle set A to the
Kleene µ-recursive functions. Lerman [1983] defines relative computability
from an oracle by adding the characteristic function of the oracle to the
Kleene µ-recursive functions. This occurs on page 11 but Lerman is as-
suming that the reader has already mastered a first course in computability
using a text such as Rogers [1967]. Cooper’s new book [2004] introduces
oracle Turing machines on page 139.
Kleene’s second and more introductory book, Mathematical Logic [1967,
p. 267] has a brief discussion of reducing one predicate to another and on
degrees of unsolvability. The only genuine introduction to computability I
58
found which introduces relative computability immediately is Martin Davis
Computability and Unsolvability [1958], which defines it on page 20 of Chap-
ter 1 using oracle Turing machines. In the former book Soare [1987] and new
book [CTA] Turing a-machines come in Chapter I and Turing o-machines
at the beginning of Chapter III after which the book is based on Turing
reducibility. I thought of moving o-machines to Chapter I and doing it all
at once, but my students persuaded me that people need time to absorb the
concepts. Nevertheless, I believe that one should introduce o-machines and
relative computability as soon as possible.
14 Conclusions
Conclusion 14.1. We should use the term “recursive” to mean “defined
inductively” not “calculable” or “computable.” The subject is called “Com-
putability Theory” not “Recursive Function Theory” or “Recursion Theory.”
Church and Kleene [1936] introduced the term “recursive” to mean “com-
putable” primarily for public relations reasons as Kleene [1981] explained
(see '2.3). Over the next few decades Kleene reinforced and promulgated
this convention, but by the 1990’s it had become much more useful for
communication and more accurate scientifically and historically to remove
the meaning of “computable” from the term “recursive,” particularly since
Turing and G¨odel had both rejected this usage. This change has largely
been accomplished since the papers on computability and recursion in Soare
[1996] and Soare [1999]. See these papers and the discussion in '11. This
emphasis on computability (rather than recursion) and its relation to in-
computability has been developed in many recent books and papers such as
Cooper [2004].
Conclusion 14.2. It is most accurate and informative to refer to the central
thesis of the subject as the “Computability Thesis” not “Church’s Thesis,”
“Turing’s Thesis,” or the “Church-Turing Thesis.”
It is misleading to refer to it as “Church’s Thesis” as many people do
because Church never demonstrated the thesis (at least to the satisfaction of
G¨odel and modern scholars like Gandy [1988] and Sieg [1994]), but Turing
did demonstrate his thesis in a manner convincing to essentially everyone.
Church gave a formal model (the Herbrand-G¨odel general recursive func-
tions) which was not convincing even to its author, while Turing invented
a new model, the Turing a-machine which everyone, including Church and
Kleene, agreed was the most convincing of the thesis.
59
Neither of Turing nor G¨odel thought of this as a thesis. The term
“Church’s thesis” was started arbitrarily by Kleene alone in [1952]. We
use the term “the calculus” without the name of either founder, Newton or
Leibniz, attached. Why not replace the name in computability by a descrip-
tive and informative term like “Computability Thesis?” See the discussion
in '12.
Conclusion 14.3. The subject is primarily about incomputable objects not
computable ones, and has been since the 1930’s. The single most important
concept is that of relative computability to relate incomputable objects.
See '13 and '4–'7.
Conclusion 14.4. For pedagogical reasons with beginning students it is
reasonable to first present Turing a-machines and ordinary computability.
However, any introductory computability book should then present as soon
as possible Turing oracle machines (o-machines) and relative computabil-
ity. Parallels should be drawn with offline and online computing in the real
world.
See '13.4.
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Department of Mathematics
University of Chicago
Chicago, Illinois 60637-1546
soare@uchicago.edu
URL: http://www.people.cs.uchicago.edu/∼soare/
70

3.3 3.4 3.5

3.2.3 The Flaw in Church’s Thesis . . . . . . . . 3.2.4 G¨del on Church’s Thesis . . . . . . . . . . o 3.2.5 G¨del’s Letter to Kreisel [1968] . . . . . . . o 3.2.6 Gibbs Lecture [1951] . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.2.7 Godel’s Postscriptum 3 June, 1964 to G¨del o Hao Wang Reports on G¨del . . . . . . . . . . . . o Kleene’s Remarks About Turing . . . . . . . . . . Church’s Remarks About Turing . . . . . . . . . .

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16 17 17 17 18 19 19 20 20 21 21 23 23 23 24 25 25 26 26 28 28

4 Oracle Machines and Relative Computability 4.1 Turing’s Oracle Machines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.2 Modern Definitions of Oracle Machines . . . . . . . . . . 4.2.1 The Graph of a Partial Computable Function . . 4.2.2 The Graph of an Oracle Computable Functional 4.3 The Oracle Graph Theorem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.4 Equivalent Definitions of Relative Computability . . . . 4.4.1 Notation for Functions and Functionals . . . . . 5 Emil Post Expands Turing’s Ideas 5.1 Post’s Work in the 1930’s . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.2 Post Steps Into Turing’s Place During 1940–1954 5.3 Post’s Problem on Incomplete C.E. Sets . . . . . 5.4 Post Began With Strong Reducibilities . . . . . .

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6 Post Highlights Turing Computability 29 6.1 Post Articulates Turing Reducibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 6.2 The Post-Turing Thesis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 7 Continuous and Total Functionals 7.1 Representations of Open and Closed Sets . . . . 7.2 Notation for Trees . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.3 Dense Open Subsets of Cantor Space . . . . . . . 7.4 Effectively Open and Closed Sets . . . . . . . . . 7.5 Continuous Functions on Cantor Space . . . . . . 7.6 Effectively Continuous Functionals . . . . . . . . 7.7 Continuous Functions are Relatively Computable 31 31 31 33 33 34 35 36

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8 Bounded Reducibilities 36 8.1 A Matrix Mx for Bounded Reducibilities . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 8.2 Bounded Turing Reducibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37

2

8.3 8.4

Truth-Table Reductions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Difference of c.e. sets, n-c.e., and ω-c.e. sets . . . . . . . . . .

37 39 40 42 42 43 44 44 44 45 45 46 46 47 48 48 50 50 50 51 51 52 54 55 57 57 57 57 58 59

9 Online Computing 9.1 Turing Machines and Online Processes . 9.2 Trial and Error Computing . . . . . . . 9.3 The Limit Lemma . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.4 Two Models for Computing With Error 9.4.1 The Limit Computable Model . . 9.4.2 The Online Model . . . . . . . .

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10 Three Displacements in Computability Theory 11 “Computable” versus “Recursive” 11.1 Church Defends Church’s Thesis with “Recursive” . . . 11.2 Church and Kleene Define “Recursive” as “Computable” 11.3 G¨del Rejects “Recursive Function Theory” . . . . . . . o 11.4 The Ambiguity in the Term “Recursive” . . . . . . . . . 11.5 Changing “Recursive” Back to “Inductive” . . . . . . . 12 Renaming it the “Computability Thesis?” 12.1 Kleene Called it “Thesis I” in [1943] . . . . . . . . . 12.2 Kleene Named it “Church’s thesis” in [1952] . . . . . 12.3 Kleene Dropped “Thesis I” for “Church’s thesis” . . 12.4 Evidence for the Computability Thesis . . . . . . . . 12.5 Who First Demonstrated the Computability Thesis? 12.6 The Computability Thesis and the Calculus . . . . . 12.7 Founders of Computability and the Calculus . . . . . 13 Turing a-machines versus o-machines? 13.1 Turing, Post, and Kleene on Relative Computability 13.2 Relative Computability Unifies Incomputability . . . 13.3 The Key Concept of the Subject . . . . . . . . . . . 13.4 When to Introduce Relative Computability . . . . . 14 Conclusions
Abstract We begin with the history of the discovery of computability in the 1930’s, the roles of G¨del, Church, and Turing, and the formalisms of o recursive functions and Turing automatic machines (a-machines). To

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3

A number of topics arose from Turing functionals including continuous functionals on Cantor space and online computations. relative computability. §4] of an oracle machine (o-machine) and Post’s development of it in [1944. that which “cannot be computed or reckoned. At the end in §10 – §13 we consider three displacements in computability theory. incalculable.1 Terminology: Incompleteness and Incomputability The two principal accomplishments in computability and logic in the 1930’s were the discovery of incompleteness by G¨del [1931] and of incomputabilo ity independently by Church [1936] and Turing in [1936]. Therefore. but we often use the term “incomputability” for the general concept because it is linguistically and mathematically parallel to “incomplete.whom did G¨del credit the definition of a computable function? We o present Turing’s notion [1939. [1948]. We also challenge a number of traditional views of these subjects as often presented in the literature since the 1930’s. 1. 1 Introduction In this paper we consider the development of Turing oracle machines and relative computability and its relation to continuity in analysis and to online computing in the real world. §11]. and the historical reasons they occurred. Websters dictionary defines it as “greater than can be computed or enumerated. more so than Turing a-machines and standard computable functions since they are special cases of the former and are presented first only for pedagogical clarity to beginning students.” The term “incomputable” appeared in English as early as 1606 with the meaning. we argue that Turing o-machines. Several brief conclusions are drawn in §14. 4 . and finally KleenePost [1954] into its present form. and online computing are the most important concepts in the subject. Almost all the results in theoretical computability use relative reducibility and o-machines rather than a-machines and most computing processes in the real world are potentially online or interactive. very great.” Neither dictionary lists an entry for “noncomputable” although it has often been used in the subject to mean “not computable” for a specific function or set analogously as “nonmeasurable” is used in analysis. We use the term “noncomputable” or “incomputable” for individual instances.” according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

the researchers spent the remainder of the 1930’s investigating more of the new world of incomputability they had created by diagonal arguments. For example. In the 1930’s for the first time the goal was the refutation of Hilbert’ two programs. but not until after 1940. 1. These processes are sometimes called online or interactive or database processes depending on the way they are set up.3 Computing Relative to an Oracle or Database In 1936 Turing’s a-machines and Church’s use of G¨del’s recursive functions o solved an immediate problem by producing a definition of a computable function.D. many modern computer processes are online processes in that they consult an external data base of other resource during the computation process.2 The Goal of Incomputability not Computability For several thousand years the study of algorithms had led to new theoretical algorithms and sometimes new devices for computability and calculation. λ-definable functions. would all have deep applications to the design and programming of computing machines.1. just as Georg Cantor had spent the last quarter of the nineteenth century exploring the world of uncountable sets which he had created by the diagonal method. and the Entscheidungsproblem (decision problem). §4] included 5 . wanted to give formal definitions of a computable function so that they could diagonalize over all computable functions and produce an incomputable (unsolvable) problem. a finite consistency proof for Peano arithmetic. two main discoverers of computability. Alonzo Church and Alan Turing. Turing a-machines. However. For the latter. with which one could diagonalize and produce undecidable problems in mathematics. and recursive functions. In §1 and §2 we consider this historical development from 1931 to 1939 and we introduce quotes from G¨del to show convincingly that he believed “the correct definition of meo chanical computability was established beyond any doubt by Turing” and only by Turing. The Turing a-machine is a good model for offline computing such as a calculator or batch processor where the process is initially given a procedure and an input and continues with no further outside information. Turing spent 1936–1938 at Princeton writing a Ph. a laptop computer might consult the World Wide Web via an ethernet or wireless connection while it is computing. Meanwhile. The specific models of computable functions produced by 1936. thesis under Church on ordinal logics. A tiny and obscure part of his paper [1939.

In contrast. It is surprising that so much attention has been paid to the Church-Turing Thesis 3. These concepts were not well understood when Post began.a description of an oracle machine (o-machine) roughly a Turing a-machine which could interrogate an “oracle” (external database) during the computation. but in Post [1943].4 Continuous Functions and Calculus In §7 we show that any Turing functional on Cantor space 2ω is an effectively continuous partial map. Emil Post [1944.” In §4–§6 we study Turing’s oracle machines (o-machines) and Post’s development of them into relative computability. 1. Turing a-machines viewed as functionals on Cantor space produce only a constant functional. particularly in view of the importance of relative computability (Turing o-machines) in comparison with plain computability (Turing a-machines) in both theoretical and practical areas. This remarkable role by Post has been underemphasized in the literature but is discussed here in §5 and §6. for any continuous functional there is a Turing functional relative to some real parameter which defines it. Oracle computing processes are those most often used in theoretical research and also in real world computing where a laptop computer may communicate with a database like the World Wide Web. The one page description was very sketchy and Turing never developed it further. Often the local computer is called the “client” and the remote device the “server. thereby linking computability with analysis. This makes Turing functionals the analogue in computability of the continuous functions in analysis as we explain.1 on relative reducibility. The theory of relative computability developed by Turing and Post and the o-machines provide a precise mathematical framework for database or online computing just Turing a-machines provide one for offline computing processes such as batch processing.2. These are summarized in the PostTuring Thesis of §6. there appears to be more emphasis in calculus books on continuous functionals than there is in introductory computability books on computably continuous functionals and relative computability.2 over the last seventy years and so little to the Post-Turing Thesis 6. §11] considerably expanded and developed relative computability and Turing functionals. 6 . Conversely. [1948] and Kleene-Post [1954] they emerged into their modern state. [1944]. Surprisingly.

46] wrote. “This was because it seemed clear to Hilbert that with the solution of this problem. and the importance of logic in mathematics. the city of his birth. 108] wrote.) At a mathematical conference preceding Hilbert’s address. Wir m¨ssen wissen. the Entscheidungsproblem. u Wir werden wissen.1 G¨del’s Incompleteness Theorem o Hilbert retired in 1930 and was asked to give a special address in the fall of 1930 in K¨nigsberg. to settle all mathematical questions in a purely mechanical manner.) (We will know.” The decision probo o lem for first order logic emerged in the early 1920’s in lectures by Hilbert and was stated in Hilbert and Ackermann [1928].2 Origins of Computability and Incomputability Mathematicians have studied algorithms and computation since ancient times. p. the importance of mathematics in science. It was to give a decision procedure (Entscheidungsverfahren) “that allows one to decide the validity of the sentence. and Hilbert [1918]. but the modern study of computability and incomputability began around 1900. and that in turn. obscure young man. p. David Hilbert was deeply interested in the foundations of mathematics. L¨wenheim [1915].” Von Neumann (1927) doubted that such a procedure existed but had no idea how to prove it. a quiet.. Kleene [1987b. “The Entscheidungsproblem for various formal systems had been posed by Schr¨der [1895]. Hilbert [1904] proposed proving the consistency of arithmetic by what emerged [1928] as his finitist program.D. He proposed using the finiteness of mathematical proofs in order to establish that contradictions could not be derived. Hilbert [1899] gave an axiomatization of geometry and showed [1900] that the question of the consistency of geometry reduced to that for the real-number system. only a year a beyond his Ph. Davis [1965. He asserted that there are no unsolvable problems and stressed. 2. This tended to reduce proofs to manipulation of finite strings of symbols devoid of intuitive meaning which stimulated the development of mechanical processes to accomplish this. it should be possible. Hilbert spoke on natural science o and logic. at least in principle. Hilbert’s second major program concerned the Entscheidungsproblem (decision problem).” Hilbert characterized this as the fundamental problem of mathematical logic. Kurt G¨del. announced a result o 7 . to arithmetic by results of Dedekind (at least in a second order system). (We must know.

As the importance of G¨del’s Incomo pleteness Theorem began to sink in. and researchers began concentrating on the Entscheidungsproblem. Crucial elements in computability theory. 8 . Of course. and he was not yet thirty-five. Kleene (b. 1912). and Stephen C. all depend upon giving code numbers to computations and elements within a computation. These young men were about to leave Hilbert’s ideas behind and open the path of computability for the next two thirds of the twentieth century. “This statement is false. that o no such formal system T could prove its own consistency. diagonal arguments had been known since Cantor’s work. G¨del o had successfully challenged the Hilbert’s first proposal.” to prove roughly that for any effectively axiomatized. Turing (b. Hilbert had retired and no longer had much influence on the field. Only Emil Post (b. In the next few weeks von Neuman realized that by arithmetizing the proof of G¨del’s first theorem. but it also had a profound effect on refuting Hilbert’s second theme of the Entscheidungsproblem. Both refutations used diagonal arguments. Kurt G¨del (b. 1897) was over thirty. These ideas spring from G¨del’s [1931] incomo o pleteness proof. the Kleene µ-recursive functions. which would solve the theoretical problems and would show the way toward practical computing devices. 1906). but G¨del showed how to arithmetize the o syntactic elements of a formal system and diagonalize within that system. Alonzo Church (born 1903). He formalized the liar paradox. consistent extension T of number theory (Peano arithmetic) there is a sentence σ which asserts its own unprovability in T . 1909) were o all under thirty.which would forever change the foundations of mathematics. one could prove an even better one. A few weeks later he brought his proof to G¨del who thanked him and informed him o politely that he had already submitted the Second Incompleteness Theorem for publication. He was at the conference representing o Hilbert’s proof theory program. 2.2 Alonzo Church By 1931 computability was a young man’s game. John von Neumann in the audience immediately understood the importance of G¨del’s Incompleteness Theorem. or the self reference in the Kleene’s Recursion Theorem. and in calling algorithms by their code numbers (G¨del numbers). perhaps the most influential of all on computability theory. the major figures were all young. was not even twenty. such as the Turing universal machine. and recognized that Hilbert’s program was over. G¨del’s Incompleteness Theorem [1931] not only refuted o Hilbert’s program on proving consistency. This made it easier to challenge Hilbert on the second topic of the decision problem.

(See Davis [1965. G¨del was not.D. Alonzo Church spent one year at Harvard and one year at G¨ttingen and Amsterdam. G¨del spent the first part of 1934 at Princeton. Church’s Thesis (First Version) [1934].” 2. 8–9]. he tried to refute it by a diagonal argument but since the λ-definable functions were only partial functions. On the basis of this evidence and his own intuition. Stephen C. Instead of a contradiction.3 Herbrand-G¨del Recursive Functions o From 1933 to 1939 G¨del spent time both in Vienna pursuing his academic o career and at Fine Hall in Princeton which housed both the Princeton University faculty in mathematics and the Institute for Advanced Study. When Kleene first heard the thesis. He returned o to Princeton as an Assistant Professor of Mathematics in 1929. G¨del’s definition o gave a remarkably succinct system whose simple rules reflected the way a mathematician would informally calculate a function using recursion. Church had begun to develop a formal system now called the λ-calculus.” Soon the prefix “primitive” was added to the latter and the prefix “general” was generally dropped from the former. By the time Kleene received his Ph. Kleene. at Princeton in 1927.) Definition 2.D. Kleene began proving that certain well-known functions were λ-definable. In 1931 Church knew only that the successor function was λ-definable. of which he was a member. p.1. Although Kleene was convinced by Church’s first thesis. He expanded on a concept of Herbrand and brought closer to the modern form. Church proposed to G¨del around March. G¨del rejected Church’s o o first thesis as “thoroughly unsatisfactory. the Kleene Recursion Theorem whose proof is a diagonal argument which fails (see Soare [1987.After completing his Ph. o The primitive recursive functions which he had used in his 1931 paper did not constitute all computable functions. In 1931 Church’s first student. p. 36]). A function if effectively calculable if and only if it is λ-definable. Kleene had proved a beautiful new theorem. At Princeton in the spring of 1934 G¨del lectured on the Herbrand-G¨del recursive functions which came o o to be known as the general recursive functions to distinguish them from the primitive recursive functions which at that time were called “recursive functions. 9 . the diagonal was one of the rows. in 1934 he had shown that all the usual number theoretic functions were λ-definable. the term in the 1930’s for a function which is computable in the informal sense. arrived at Princeton. 1934 the first o version of his thesis on functions which are effectively calculable.

As further evidence. Definition 2. 1935. to put my work in that format. functions defined by the five schemata for primitive recursive functions. Church’s Thesis [1936]. Church and Kleene had shown the formal equivalence of the Herbrand-G¨del recursive functions and the λ-definable funco tions. λ-definability is a precise calculating system and has close connections to modern computing.” o Kleene [1981] wrote. plus the least number operator µ. . his famous proposition described in his paper [1936]. “In this paper a definition of recursive function of positive integers which is essentially G¨del’s is adopted. Church and Kleene changed their formalism (especially for o Church’s Thesis) from “λ-definable” to “Herbrand-G¨del general recursive. After seeing o G¨del’s lectures. Kleene introduced a new equivalent definition. . after general recursiveness had appeared. chose. . “I myself. Church o presented to the American Mathematical Society on April 19. ” Nevertheless. with Herbrand-G¨del recursive functions o in place of λ-definable ones. such as functional programming. A function on the positive integers is effectively calculable if and only if it is recursive.. perhaps unduly influenced by rather chilly receptions from audiences around 1933–35 to disquisitions on λ-definability. o Rosser and Kleene took notes which appeared as G¨del [1934]. 2. This time without consulting G¨del. .4 Stalemate at Princeton Over Church’s Thesis Church reformulated his thesis.. the µ-recursive functions.2. It is maintained o that the notion of an effectively calculable function of positive integers should be identified with that of a recursive function. The µ-recursive functions had the advantage of a short standard mathematical definition. o 10 .” It has been known since Kleene [1952] as Church’s Thesis in the following form. but the disadvantage that any function not primitive recursive could be calculated only by a tedious arithmetization as in G¨del’s Incompleteness Theorem.Church and Kleene attended G¨del’s lectures on recursive functions.

G¨del’s footnote 3. Church. constituted the most 11 .5 G¨del’s Thoughts on Church’s Thesis o In spite of this evidence. It was his approval that Church wanted most. G¨del says later that he was not o sure that his system of Herbrand-G¨del recursive functions comprised all o possible recursions.” The second paragraph. since the notion of finite computation is not defined.2. the value of the function can be computed by a finite procedure3 . G¨del still did not accept Church’s Thesis by the o beginning of 1936.” Footnote 3. o Rosser.” This suggests that G¨del was waiting not only for a formal definition o (such as recursive functions or Turing machines which came later) but evidence that these captured the informal notion of effectively calculable (which Turing later gave. recursions of other forms (e. “The converse seems to be true. and Post nearby at City College in New York. G¨del had considered the question of o characterizing the calculable functions in [1934] when he wrote. gives crucial insight into his o thinking about the computability thesis and his later pronouncements about the achievements of Turing versus others. but which G¨del did not find in Church’s work). Kleene. Here o he even suggests that such a precise mathematical characterization of the informal notion cannot be proved which makes his acceptance of Turing’s later work even more impressive. “[Primitive] recursive functions have the important property that. Second. but it serves as a heuristic principle. 3 3.1 Turing Breaks the Stalemate Turing Machines and Turing’s Thesis At the start of 1936 those gathered at Princeton: G¨del.” but is a “heuristic principle.. This cannot be proved. with respect to two variables simultaneously) are admitted.g. for each given set of values for the arguments. Church had solved the Entscheidungsproblem only if his characterization of effectively calculable functions was accurate. besides recursion according to scheme (V) [primitive recursion]. G¨del had become the most prominent figure in matho ematical logic. his final sentence suggests that he may have believed such a characterization “cannot be proved. if.

This is important because of the appearance in 1936 of related papers by Church. The work of Hilbert and G¨del had become well-known around the world. Gandy [1980]. Davis [1965. Turing’s mother had had a typewriter which fascinated him as a boy. or perhaps because of the two page minor correction [1937a]. 1936. 1936. but they could not agree on whether recursive functions constituted all effectively calculable functions. not knowing it had been previously proved. Kleene. i. and Turing’s priority is important here. 73]. and Post. 72]. 1936–Read 12 November. and as a result Turing had been elected a Fellow of King’s College. [1981]. At that moment stepped forward a twenty-two year old youth. Well. far removed from Princeton. and the second section of pages 241–265 in Volume 42. write. Part 3. Alan Turing attended.” or sometimes “[1936-37]. and erase one square at a time before moving to an immediately adjacent square. p.distinguished and powerful group in the world investigating the notion of a computable function and Hilbert’s Entscheidungsproblem. Turing’s Thesis [1936]. the first section of pages 230–240 in Volume 42.A. There has been considerable misunderstanding in the literature about exactly when Turing’s seminal paper was published. Post [1943. [1981b]. [1987]. this was not just any youth. (Max) Newman gave lectures on Hilbert’s Entscheidungsproblem in 1935. Turing showed his solution to the astonished Max Newman in April. p. Cambridge. Part 4. Alan Turing had already proved the Central Limit Theorem in probability theory.” perhaps because the volume 42 is 1936-37 covering 1936 and part of 1937.1 Many papers. and they published Turing’s paper in volume 42 on November 30. Cutland [1980]. and others. 1 12 . p. Vol. 1936 and December 23. such as Kleene [1952]. G¨del Collected Works. 456.e. Others. and others. Definition 3. correctly refer to it as “[1936]. [1987b]. p. He designed his automatic machine (a-machine) as a kind of idealized typewriter with an infinite carriage over which the reading head passes with the ability to read. mistakenly refer to this paper o as “Turing [1937]. issued on November 30.” It appeared in two sections. p. Kleene [1943.. 1936. Newman persuaded them that Turing’s work was sufficiently different.H. A function is intuitively computable (effectively calculable) if and only if it is computable by a Turing machine. o At Cambridge University topologist M. I.” The journal states that Turing’s manuscript was “Received 28 May. as defined in Turing [1936].1. an automatic machine (a-machine). 1936. The Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society was reluctant to publish Turing’s paper because Church’s had already been submitted to another journal on similar material. just like a typewriter. Kleene and Post [1954. 20]. 407].

G¨del was also well aware of Turing’s proof [1937b] of o the equivalence of λ-definable functions with Turing computable ones. Volume II. issued December 23. Let us examine there what G¨del has to say. G¨del [1990]. 1936.Turing’s a-machine has compelling simplicity and logic which makes it even today the most convincing model of computability. even though it o was formulated with his own general recursive functions. G¨del knew of the extensional evo idence. and Kleene [1936]. Equally important with the Turing machine was Turing’s analysis of the intuitive conception of a “function produced by a mechanical procedure. G¨del o o o [1995]. general recursive functions. No part of Turing’s paper appeared in 1937. In the o o following article G¨del considers all these as equivalent formal definitions. Also Turing [1936. p. and hence the confluence of all the known definitions. Church and Kleene [1936b] had shown the formal equivalence of λ-definable functions. 13 . The best source for articles of G¨del is the o three volume Collected Works. G¨del [1986]. Determining the correct date of publication of Turing’s work is important to place it chronologically in comparison with Church [1936]. He had not accepted the argument of confluence as sufficient to justify Church’s Thesis. G¨del clearly expresses o his opinion in his three volume collected works. 3. G¨del [1990].2 G¨del’s Opinion of Turing’s Work o G¨del never accepted Church’s Thesis in the form above.” In a masterful demonstration. which we have listed by year of publication: Volume I. G¨del [1986]. and Volume III. o The question was whether they captured the informal concept of a function specified by a finite procedure. but the two page minor correction [1937a] did. Post [1936]. which Robin Gandy considered as precise as most mathematical proofs. Turing analyzed the informal nature of functions computable by a finite procedure and demonstrated that they coincide with those computable by an a-machine. G¨del was interested in the intensional analysis of finite proo cedure as given by Turing [1936]. and Kleene had proved the equivalence with µ-recursive functions based on G¨del’s own arithmeo tization of 1931. but G¨del and o most others accepted Turing’s Thesis. 243] introduced the universal Turing machine which has great theoretical and practical importance. o o and G¨del [1995]. However.

2. o the formal classes of Turing computable functions. G¨del. not that the Herbrand-G¨del reo cursive functions had elevated Turing computable functions. and had rejected it in 1935 and 1936 because he was not sure his own definition had captured the informal concept of procedure. o “That this really is the correct definition of mechanical computability was established beyond any doubt by Turing. because for the notions of mechanical procedure and of formal system no mathematically satisfactory definition had been given at that time. G¨del knew o that Turing had never proved anything about recursive functions. What did he mean? G¨del knew that by work of Turing. . Indeed G¨del o had seen Church’s Thesis 2.” The word “this” evidently refers to the recursive functions.” In the Nachlass printed in G¨del [1995. G¨del now went forward o with Turing’s work.3. G¨del was asserting that it was Turing o who had demonstrated that these formal classes captured the informal notion of a procedure. It was Turing’s proof [1936] and the formal equivalences which had elevated Herbrand-G¨del recursive functions to a correct characo teristic of effectively calculable functions. Church. found in the Nachlass in a spiral notebook. and Kleene. which he knew would be more familiar with recursion. but having introduced Turing. 168. p.1 G¨del [193?] Notes in Nachlass [1935] o This article has an introductory note by Martin Davis in G¨del [1995. 166] G¨del wrote. recursive functions. G¨del had begun with the recursive function as more easily explained to o a general audience. He intended his talk to be as elementary as possible for a general audience.” To formally capture this crucial informal concept. . o o “When I first published my paper about undecidable propositions the result could not be pronounced in this generality. began with a definition of the primitive recursive functions (which he quickly proved inadequate by a diagonal argument) and then his own Herbrand-G¨del recursive functions on p. (G¨del o o gave the Herbrand-G¨del recursive function definition rather than Turing o machines because he knew they were equivalent. “This article is taken from handwritten notes in English. 14 .) G¨del continued on p. evidently for a lecture. 156]. o Davis wrote. p. The essential point is to define what a procedure is. and λ-definable functions all coincided. .2 expressed in terms of Herbrand-G¨del recuro sive functions. 167. who was giving o an introductory lecture.

Once we have a sufficiently strong system (such as Peano arithmetic) we can prove anything about computable functions which could be proved in a more powerful system. i. nr . p. . He has shown that the computable functions defined in this way are exactly those for which you can construct a machine with finite number of parts which will do the following thing. . G¨del [1990. . . . 2 15 .e.” 3. a p. For the concept . on a slip of paper and put the slip into the machine and turn the crank then after finite number of turns the machine will stop and the value of the function for the argument n1 . Turing computability.. nr will be printed on the paper. . G¨del muses on the remarko o able fact of the absoluteness of computability. it is possible that passing from one formal system Si to one of higher order Si+1 not only allows us to prove certain propositions which were not provable before. It seems to me that this importance is largely due to the fact that with this concept one has for the first time succeeded in giving an absolute definition of an interesting epistemogical notion. “A function of integers is computable in any formal system containing arithmetic if and only if it is computable in arithmetic” . . but also makes it possible to shorten by an extraordinary amount proofs already available.2. . and others.2 In all other cases treated previously. as a single formal system. “Tarski has stressed in his lecture (and I think justly) the great importance of the concept of general recursiveness (or Turing’s computability). . general o recursiveness. G¨del discussed what it means for a function to be computable o in a formal system S and remarked that given a sequence of formal systems Si . such as demonstrability or definability. Now for G¨del’s Princeton Bicentennial address [1946] refer to the Colo lected Works Volume II. Si+1 . 396–398]. . G¨del identifies those formal systems known to be equivalent. . one has been able to define them only relative to a given language. If you write down any number n1 . that it is not necessary to distinguish orders (different formal systems). one not depending on the formalism chosen. . 150]. Once again.2 Princeton Bicentennial [1946] ¨ To fully understand this article one should be familiar with G¨del’s Uber die o L¨nge von Beweisen” (“On the length of proofs) [1936a] in Volume I [1986. .“But Turing has shown more. and for each individual language it is clear that the one thus obtained is not the one looked for.

. Gandy [1988. It is exactly this stumbling block which Turing overcame by a totally new approach. 1935 (see Kleene [1987b]. but G¨del did not o accept it then and gave no evidence later of believing that Church had done this. “.2. G¨del himself never claimed to have made this link. 80] wrote. for example by Church. If the basic steps are stepwise recursive. 80.” Sieg [p.2. Church claimed it in o his announcement of Church’s Thesis in 1935 and 1936.3 The Flaw in Church’s Thesis G¨del himself was the first to provide one of the formalisms later recognized o as a definition of computability. without argument to be recursive. although it is merely a special kind of demonstrability or decidability. pp. This becomes irrefutably clear in §3. . Sieg [p. By a kind of miracle it is not necessary to distinguish orders. and that stumbling block was quite clearly seen by Church. o “. and the diagonal procedure does not lead outside the defined notion. ” Who is the “one” who has linked the informal notion of procedure or effectively calculable function to one of the formal definitions. 3. “It is precisely here that we encounter the major stumbling block for Church’s analysis. 78] wrote.of computability. something he did not justify. . 87] in their excellent analyses brought out this weakness in Church’s argument. . the general recursive functions. However. . the situation is different. then it follows easily by the Kleene Normal Form Theorem which Kleene had proved and communicated to G¨del before November. 57]). p.” who wrote that without this assumption it is difficult to see how the notion of a system of logic can be given any exact meaning at all. p. .5. this core does not provide a convincing analysis: steps taken in a calculus must be of a restricted character and they are assumed. that the entire o process is recursive.” G¨del stated. The fatal weakness in Church’s argument was the core assumption that the atomic steps were stepwise recursive. 79] and especially Sieg [1994. 16 . however. one has for the first time succeeded in giving an absolute definition of an interesting epistemogical notion . Modern scholars found weaknesses in Church’s attempted proof [1936] that the recursive functions constituted all effectively calculable functions.

not only in themselves. “Some basic theorems on the foundations of mathematics and their implications.5 G¨del’s Letter to Kreisel [1968] o -G¨del: letter to Kreisel of May 1. o “ But I was completely convinced only by Turing’s paper.” 3. but also with regard to their implications for the traditional philosophical problems about the nature of mathematics.. are fairly widely known. “ o G¨del [1951] in his Gibbs lecture wrote.2. . 1995. however. . It is probable as Wang suggests ([1987. verifying the Computability Thesis].” – G¨del. but he never o gave any hint that he thought Church had been the first to show that the recursive functions coincided with the effectively calculable ones. Church 1936. see A.3. . p. which. 1994.2.2. p. Princeton Bicentennial.4 G¨del on Church’s Thesis o G¨del may not have found errors in Church’s demonstration. . o “As for previous equivalent definitions of computability. Vol. at a meeting of the American Mathematical Society at Brown University. 88]. p. that the lecture was the main project G¨del worked on in the fall of 1951. I. I believe. [G¨del. The results themselves. 256–358.e. [i.6 Gibbs Lecture [1951] G¨del. pages 117–18]). [1946. pp 150–153. pp. are much less suitable for our purpose.” . 84]. Collected Works Volume III. G¨del said. On the contrary. 3. 1968 [Sieg. G¨del delivered the twentyo fifth Josiah Willard Gibbs Lecture. o o Martin Davis in his introduction wrote. .304–305]. o “Research in the foundations of mathematics during the past few decades has produced some results of interest. “On 26 December 1951. but nevertheless I think it will be useful to present them in outline once again. and G¨del o o Collected Works. especially in view of the fact that due to the work 17 .

of various mathematicians, they have taken on a much more satisfactory form than they had had originally. The greatest improvement was made possible through the precise definition of the concept of finite procedure, [“ . . . equivalent to the concept of a ’computable function of integers’ . . . ”] which plays a decisive role in these results. There are several different ways of arriving at such a definition, which, however, all lead to exactly the same concept. The most satisfactory way, in my opinion, is that of reducing the concept of a finite procedure to that of a machine with a finite number of parts, as has been done by the British mathematician Turing.” In this one paragraph, 1. G¨del stressed the importance of the results to mathematics and phio losophy. 2. G¨del gave full credit to Turing and his “machine with a finite number o of parts” for capturing the concept of finite procedure. 3. G¨del never mentions Church or G¨del’s own definition of recursive o o functions. This is one of the most convincing and explicit demonstrations of G¨del’s o opinion of Turing’s work. 3.2.7 Godel’s Postscriptum 3 June, 1964 to G¨del [1934] o

-Godel’s Postscriptum 3 June, 1964 to G¨del [1934], see “The Uno decidable,” M. Davis, [1965, p. 71] and G¨del Collected Works, Volume I o [1986, p. 369–370]. “ In consequence of later advances, in particular of the fact that, due to A. M. Turing’s work, a precise and unquestionably adequate definition of the general concept of formal system can now be given, the existence of undecidable arithmetical propositions and the non-demonstrability of the consistency of a system in the same system can now be proved rigorously for every consistent formal system containing a certain amount of finitary number theory.”

18

Turing’s work gives an analysis of the concept of “mechanical procedure” (alias “algorithm” or “computation procedure” or “finite combinatorial procedure”). This concept is shown to be equivalent with that of a “Turing machine.”

3.3

Hao Wang Reports on G¨del o

Hao Wang was a very close friend and professional colleague of G¨del, whom o he called “G” in the following passage. Wang [1987, p. 96] wrote about G¨del’s opinion of Turing’s work. o “Over the years G habitually credited A.M. Turing’s paper of 1936 as the definitive work in capturing the intuitive concept [of computability], and did not mention Church or E. Post in this connection. He must have felt that Turing was the only one who gave persuasive arguments to show the adequacy of the precise concept . . . In particular, he had probably been aware of the arguments offered by Church for his “thesis” and decided that they were inadequate. It is clear that G and Turing (1912–1954) had great admiration for each other, . . . “

3.4

Kleene’s Remarks About Turing
“Turing’s computability is intrinsically persuasive” but “λ-definability is not intrinsically persuasive” and “general recursiveness scarcely so (its author G¨del being at the time not at all o persuaded).” -Stephen Cole Kleene [1981b, p. 49] “Turing’s machine concept arises from a direct effort to analyze computation procedures as we know them intuitively into elementary operations. Turing argued that repetitions of his elementary operations would suffice for any possible computation. “ For this reason, Turing computability suggests the thesis more immediately than the other equivalent notions and so we choose it for our exposition.” -Stephen Cole Kleene, second book [1967, p. 233]

19

3.5

Church’s Remarks About Turing
Computability by a Turing machine, “ has the advantage of making the identification with effectiveness in the ordinary (not explicitly defined) sense evident immediately—i.e., without the necessity of proving preliminary theorems.” -Alonzo Church [1937], Review of Turing [1936]

In modern times it is sometimes stated as follows, recognizing that Church [1935], [1936] got it first, but that Turing [1936] got it right, in the opinion of G¨del and many modern scholars. o Definition 3.2. Church-Turing Thesis. A function is intuitively computable if and only if it is computable by a Turing machine, or equivalently if it is specified by a recursive function. We strongly believe that it should not be called any of the three (Church’s Thesis, Turing’s Thesis, or the Church-Turing Thesis) but rather should be called the “Computability Thesis” as we argue in §13 and §14, just as the calculus is named for neither of its discoverers, Newton and Leibniz.

4

Oracle Machines and Relative Computability

After introducing definitions of computable functions: Turing a-machines, recursive functions, and λ-definable functions; the originators continued during 1936–1939 to explore incomputable phenomena, rather than computable applications of these devices, which came only a decade or more later. Church and Kleene [1936] as well as Church [1938] and Kleene [1938] studied computable well-orderings and defined recursive ordinals which were later used to extend the jump operation to the arithmetic hierarchy and beyond CK to the hyperarithmetic hierarchy up to the first nonrecursive ordinal ω1 . Turing spent 1936–1938 at Princeton working on a Ph.D. with Church. His thesis was completed in 1938 and published in Turing [1939]. Church and other mathematicians had found G¨del’s Incompleteness Theorem uno settling. By G¨del’s proof an effective extension T1 of Peano arithmetic o cannot prove its own consistency conT1 . However, we can add the arithmetical statement conT1 to T1 to get a strictly stronger theory T2 . Continuing, we can get an increasing hierarchy of theories {Tα }α∈S over a set S of ordinals. Turing’s Ph.D. thesis [1939] concerned such an increasing array of undecidable theories.

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As before.4. having as one of its fundamental processes that of solving a given number-theoretic problem. S2 = {B. The old tape is called the work tape and operates just as before. a kind of oracle as it were. even after Post.1 with a modern treatment of oracle machines and Turing functionals including some of the more important properties even though these were mostly discovered much later. . §4] a short statement about oracle machines. In 1939 Turing left this topic never to return. Before doing so. L} the set of 21 . called the oracle tape. A Turing oracle machine (o-machine) is a Turing machine with an extra “read only” tape. such as effective continuity on Cantor space. cannot be a machine. [1948]. upon which is written the characteristic function of some set A (called the oracle). 1} is the work tape alphabet. . More modern properties of Turing functionals. and whose symbols cannot be printed over. and other papers as we shall explain in §5 and §6. this oracle . . 1} is the oracle tape alphabet. Q is a finite set of states. Definition 4. It mostly lay dormant for five years until it was developed in a beautiful form by Post [1944].” This is virtually all Turing said of oracle machines. p.1. His description was only a page long and half of that was devoted to the unsolvability of related problems such as whether an o-machine will output an infinite number of 0’s or not. 4. The reading head moves along both tapes simultaneously. . . 46] of a machine with a head which reads the work tape and oracle tape simultaneously. S1 = {B. With the help of the oracle we could form a new kind of machine (call them o-machines). Turing wrote in his ordinal logics paper [1939. we complete this section §4.2 Modern Definitions of Oracle Machines There are several equivalent ways that a Turing machine with oracle may be defined. 0. “Let us suppose we are supplied with some unspecified means of solving number-theoretic problems. and {R.1 Turing’s Oracle Machines In one of the most important and most obscure parts of all of computability theory. will be developed in §7.6. We prefer the definition in Soare’s book [1987. but many other formulations produce the same class of functionals.

L}. (i) We let lower case Greek letters ϕ. δ : Q × S1 × S2 −→ Q × S2 × {R. ΦA is called a partial computable e functional because it takes a set A to a set B and is viewed as a map on Cantor Space 2ω . X) indicates that the machine in state q reading symbol a on the oracle tape and symbol b on the work tape passes to state p. and moves one space right (left) on both tapes if X = R (X = L). Lachlan also used matched pairs Ψ. If A ⊆ ω then ΨA (x) may be defined for some or all x. the maximum element of A e examined during the computation. Γ. a. where δ(q. (iv) Since Rogers book [1967]. e Notation 4. e 22 . There is no confusion between the notation ϕe (x) as a partial computable function and ϕA (x) as a e use function for ΦA (x) because the former ϕe (x) will never have an exponent e A and the latter use function ϕA (x) always will. researchers have used ΦA (x) for the Turing functional with oracle program e Pe and have used ϕA (x) for the use function. b) = (p. (iii) As in Soare [1987] we use {Pe }e∈ω for an effective listing of Turing programs for Turing a-machines and let ϕe be the partial computable function defined by Pe . Since Lachlan about 1970. ψ represent partial functions from ω to ω and lower case Latin letters f .2. ψ. We let {Pe }e∈ω be an effective listing of oracle Turing programs. On the other hand. (ii) We let upper case Greek letters represent partial functionals from 2ω to 2ω . prints “c” over “b” on the work tape. If ΦA is total and computes B we say B is computable in A and write B ≤T A. γ and so forth for partial computable functionals and their use functions in many papers. A Turing oracle program Pe is now simply a partial map. c. and h represent total functions.head moving operations right and left. researchers have used ϕe (x) or {e}(x) for the partial computable function with program Pe . The Turing oracle program Pe takes some oracle A and defines a partial A-computable functional ΦA (x) = y. The other details are just as previously in Soare [1987]. g. If B ⊆ ω we write ΨA = B if ΨA (x) = B(x) for all x ∈ ω. e We refer to ϕe as a partial computable function ω to ω because its input and output are integers. and let Φe be the computable partial functional defined by Pe . and this is the general usage today.

function ψ and a description of its graph are interchangeable and equally powerful in describing ψ. Here Φσ (x) = y denotes that the oracle program Pe with oracle σ on its e oracle tape.2 The Graph of an Oracle Computable Functional Definition 4.4.) function then graph(ϕe ) is a computable enumerable (c.e.1 The Graph of a Partial Computable Function Definition 4. The crucial property of the oracle graph Ge and the one which makes a Turing functional Φe independent of any particular machine representation is the following. subset Ve ⊆ We which is the graph of a p.3. The the notions of a Turing program to compute a p.5. then the graph Ge defined in (2) is a computably enumerable (c.c) function ϕe define the graph of ϕe as follows. From the definitions Ge is Σ0 and therefore c. given any (c.e. set V which satisfies a singlevaluedness condition (3) and a continuity condition (4). (2) Ge =dfn graph(Φe ) =dfn { σ. x. 23 . y : ϕe (x) = y } Note that if ϕe is a partial computable (p. Likewise.4. and does not read more of the oracle tape than σ during the computation. 1 The converse holds for a c.3 The Oracle Graph Theorem Theorem 4. y : Φσ (x) = y } e where σ ranges over 2<ω .) set We we can find a single-valued c. For an oracle machine program Pe we likewise define the oracle graph of the corresponding computable functional Φe but now taking into consideration the finite strings read by the oracle head during the computation.e.) set. eventually halts and outputs y. Proof.c.e.) set. function. 4.c. and x on its input tape.c.2.e.e. Given a partial computable (p. 4. If Pe is an oracle Turing program defining a Turing functional Φe . Oracle Graph Theorem.2. (1) ge = graph(ϕe ) =dfn { x.

In addition. Furthermore. Theorem 4. then there is a Turing oracle program Pi which on input x and any oracle A produces the same output y.6. Let Pe be a Turing program to compute ϕe . y appears in V define Ψσ (x) = y. x. If Pe is a Turing program for a Turing a-machine.e. y ∈ U ]} = {x : (∃σ)(∃y)[ σ.e. Theorem 4. If σ. Proof. Similar to single valuedness theorem in Soare [1987. x. This reinforces the claim that it is the o-machine. τ. This includes an oracle machine with a single reading head reading the work tape and oracle tape. present o-machines. δ : Q × S2 −→ Q × S2 × {R.e. Therefore. y ∈ V =⇒ =⇒ ¬(∃τ ⊇ σ)(∃z)[ z = y & (∀τ ⊃ σ)[ τ. which is the central concept of the subject. or two independent reading heads. subset V ⊆ U satisfying (3) and (4) and having the same domain. Given V satisfying (3) and (4) define a partial computable functional Ψσ (x) as follows. Each of these formal definitions produces a c. Now Pe consists of a finite partial map which can be identified with a set of 5-tuples. {x : (∃σ)(∃y)[ σ. set U ⊆ 2<ω × ω × ω there is a c. x.7. Let V ⊂ 2<ω × ω × ω be a computably enumerable set which satisfies the following two conditions. given any c. x.4 Equivalent Definitions of Relative Computability There are several different formal definitions of relative computability. x. Proof. x. and then draw a-machines as special cases.e. graph Ge and these definitions are all equivalent.Theorem 4. y ∈ V ].. Then there is a Turing functional Φe such that Ge = V .8. z ∈ V ]. Chapter II]. several authors define relative computability from oracle A by adding the characteristic function of A either to the Herbrand-G¨del o general recursive function definition or to the Kleene µ-recursive function definition. Furthermore. y ∈ V ]}. Proof. any Turing a-machine can clearly be simulated by a Turing o-machine as we note in the following theorem. or other variations. This defines an effective reduction Ψ. There must be a Turing oracle machine Φe such that Φe = Ψ. L}. y ∈ V σ. in presenting the subject we can bypass a-machines altogether. 4. i. (3) (4) σ. not the a-machine. x. 24 .

X) for both c = 0 and c = 1. q ∈ Q and a. a) = (p. b. there is no justification for the necessity of Φe to denote ϕe since the current notation ϕe is quite satisfactory. Hence. 4. 5 Emil Post Expands Turing’s Ideas The spirit of Turing’s work was taken up by the American mathematician Emil Post. sometimes we would like to write Φe alone without its exponent A to identify it with Pe or its oracle graph Ge as a finite object.1 Notation for Functions and Functionals The standard notation is that given above. a) = (p. S2 = {B. Define an oracle program Pi as follows with transition function δ : Q × S1 × S2 −→ Q × S2 × {R. This is unwise because it blurs the distinction of types in which ϕe operates on integers and Φe on sets. 1} the oracle tape alphabet as follows.9. while ϕe is defined by Pe a finite set of 5-tuples operating on integers. The functional Φe is defined by a program Pe which is a finite set of 6-tuples operating on sets. b ∈ S2 .4. We recommend against using Φe to denote ϕe the partial computable function. Recently. we add to oracle program Pi a line δ(q. Furthermore. This is analogous to a laptop computer with no active connection to a database which may later be connected to the World Wide Web. like a laptop computer whose link with the web has temporarily been removed. L} the set of head moving operations right and left. some researchers have unfortunately used Φe to denote ϕe . who had been appointed to a faculty position at City College of New York in 1932. 0. 1} is the work tape alphabet. Furthermore. c. Pi has exactly the same effect on input x as Pe regardless of the oracle A. b. for S1 = {B.where Q is a finite set of states. Note that the oracle Turing machine Φe is a finite object represented by an oracle program Pe or an oracle graph Ge and has no oracle associated with it. For each line in Pe of the form δ(q. X) for p. Remark 4. but it can use any oracle A which may be attached. 25 . and {R. L}. Doing so under the new convention leads to confusion with ϕe which is given by a different type of program.

p. Post offers only as a “working hypothesis” that his contemplated “wider and wider formulations” are “logically reducible to formulation 1. corresponding in spirit to Turing’s more than to Church’s. This was the mantle of clarity and intuitive exposition. and most of all.2 Post Steps Into Turing’s Place During 1940–1954 As Turing left the subject of pure computability theory in 1939.” Lastly. Post’s contributions during the 1930’s were original and insightful. the mantle of relative computability and Turing reducibility. Most important. p. but they were not as influential as those of Church and Turing. of why the intuitively computable functions are computable in his formal system. did not prove the unsolvability of the Entscheidungsproblem because at the time Post was not aware of Turing’s [1936]. Post wrote [1936] that Church’s identification of effective calculability and recursiveness was working hypothesis which is in “need of continual verification.5. such as general recursiveness. Post’s (normal) canonical system is a generational system. Post did not attempt to prove that his formalism coincided with any other formalism. which he explained again in [1944]. as did Turing. Post [1941] and [1943] introduced a second and unrelated formalism called a production system and (in a restricted form) a normal system. the mantle of exploring the most basic objects such as computably enumerable sets. his mantle fell on the shoulders of Post. Post gave no analysis. From this it is often and erroneously written (Kleene [1987b. During the next decade and a half from 1940 until his death in 1954. 56]. Post played an extraordinary role in shaping the subject. because it gives an al- 26 . 5. of course. while Turing [1937b] proved the Turing computable functions equivalent to the λ-definable ones. Post gave no hint of a universal Turing machine. Furthermore.” This irritated Church who criticized it in his review [1937b] of Post [1936]. and Post believed that Church [1936] had settled the Entscheidungsproblem. Post. but in fact it was much less.1 Post’s Work in the 1930’s Post [1936] independently of Turing (but not independently of the work by Church and Kleene in Princeton) had defined a “finite combinatory process” which closely resembles a Turing machine. It was only during the next phase from 1940 to 1954 that Post’s remarkable influence was fully felt. but merely expressed the expectation that this would turn out to be true. rather than a computational system as in general recursive functions or Turing computable functions. 61]) that Post’s contribution here was “essentially the same” as Turing’s. and [1981.

but stated it in terms of generated sets and production systems.” (This is Church’s [1936] terminology also). Since recursively enumerable sets are equidefinable with partial computable functions.1 in the succinct form. which asserted that “any generated set is a normal set. “Suffice it to say that each element of the set is at some time written down. 285]. explained his informal concept of a “generated set” of positive integers this way. 286]. It is understood that once an element is placed in the set. Post.1. 1943. and earmarked as belonging to the set. 27 . A nonempty set is effectively enumerable (listable in the intuitive sense) iff it is recursively enumerable (the range of a recursive function) or equivalently iff it is generated by a (normal) production system. gave a thesis [1943. Therefore. defined a set of positive integers to be recursively enumerable if it is the range of a recursive function and then stated. Post [1944. as a result of predetermined effective processes.e.gorithm for generating (listing) a set of integers rather than computing a function. p. “The corresponding intuitive concept is that of an effectively enumerable set of positive integers. it stays there. like Church [1936]. p. Although he had used other terminology earlier. set as its range and from the definition of a c. any effectively enumerable set in the intuitive sense could be produced as a normal set is his formal system. set one can find a single valued c.” Post then [1944. subset which is the graph of a partial computable function. 201]. (Equidefinable here means that from the definition of a partial computable function we can derive a c. restated Post’s Thesis 5.” That is. like Church and Turing. 1944]. 286].) Post’s Thesis is equivalent to Turing’s Thesis. Post showed that every recursively enumerable set (one formally generated by a recursive function) is a normal set (one derived in his normal canonical system) and conversely. [Post’s Thesis. Definition 5. this definition of normal set gives a new formal definition of computability which is formally equivalent to the definitions of Church or Turing. particularly for sets of positive integers. by the 1940’s Post had adopted the Kleene-Church terminology of “recursively enumerable set” for the formal equivalent of Post’s effectively enumerable set. p. p.e. Post [1944. normal sets are formally equivalent to recursively enumerable sets.e. Post used the terms “effectively enumerable set” and “generated set” almost interchangeably. This led Post to concentrate on effectively enumerable sets rather than computable functions.

. Post later expanded on these definitions in [1948]. i. Post himself was struggling to understand it.“every generated set of positive integers is recursively enumerable. set as basic and to derive generalized computable functions as those whose graphs are generalized computably enumerable. Post called G¨del’s diagonal set. [1944]. Moreover.e.” He remarked that “this may be resolved into the two statements: every generated set is effectively enumerable.) set W which is not computable but which cannot compute G¨del’s diagonal set K.e. every effectively enumerable set of positive integers is recursively enumerable. Recursively enumerable sets of positive integers and their decision problems. set We is computable in K (We ≤T K). even as little as presented above in §4. sets rather than partial computable functions may be even more fundamental than the thesis of Church and Turing characterizing computable functions because Sacks [1990] has remarked that often in higher computability theory it is more convenient to take the notion of a generalized c.e. Post felt that the creative property of K revealed the inherent creativeness of the mathematical process. Sets Post’s most influential achievement during this period was the extraordinarily clear and intuitive paper.” Post’s concentration on c.E. 5. and even then only in general terms. o K = {e : e ∈ We } the complete set because every c. 28 . Post’s paper [1944] revealed with intuition and great appeal the significance of the computably enumerable sets and the significance of G¨del’s o Incompleteness Theorem. and did not explicitly discuss it until the very end of his paper. such that ∅ <T W <T K.4 Post Began With Strong Reducibilities Post posed his famous “Post’s problem” of whether there exists a computably enumerable (c. In 1944 reo searchers did not understand Turing reducibility. “their converses are immediately seen to be true.” Post continued.3 Post’s Problem on Incomplete C.e. Here Post introduced the terms degree of unsolvability and the concept that one set has lower degree of unsolvability than another. 5.e.

set S2 in studying Post’s problem. Our modern understanding of relative computability and Turing functionals is due more to Post and his patient.e. 29 . Post described the manner in which the decision problem for one set S1 could be reduced to that of a second set S2 . that Post defined and named for the first time “Turing Reducibility. and began to discuss it in intuitive terms. sets with thin complements. hyper-simple.” denoted B ≤T A. Post defined a sequence of strong reducibilities to better understand the concept of a set B being reducible to a set A.1 had been mostly ignored for five years. Post resurrected in [1944] the concept of oracle machines which had been buried in Turing’s [1939] paper and which other researchers had apparently ignored for five years. §11]. Post wrote it for a c. Post defined families of c. but the analysis holds for any set S2 . Post was able to exhibit incomplete incomputable c. simple. Second. hyper-hypersimple. Slowly Post’s understanding deepened of the general case of one set B being reducible (Turing reducible) to another set A.e. These concepts have pervaded the literature and proved useful and interesting. 6. §11 General (Turing) Reducibility. Post’s four and a half page discussion there is the most revealing introduction to effective reducibility of one set from another. Post’s Problem stimulated a great deal of research in the field and had considerable influence. but they did not lead to a solution of Post’s problem. It was only at the end of Post’s paper [1944] in the last section. intuitive style as in the rest of the paper. Turing’s notion of relative computability from an oracle discussed in §4. persistent efforts over a decade and a half than it is due to the brief remark by Turing in 1939. Post steadily continued gaining a deeper and deeper understanding from 1943 to 1954 until he had brought it to full development. in an attempt to find an incomplete set for these reducibilities.1 Post Articulates Turing Reducibility Post wrote in [1944. First.e. Along with these strong reducibilities. In the same crisp. 6 Post Highlights Turing Computability When Post wrote his famous paper [1944]. sets for several of these stronger reducibilities but not for Turing reducibility.Post’s contributions from 1943 to 1954 concerning relative computability are remarkable.

It is even more surprising because relative computability is used much more often than 30 . this situation obtains with the following modification.“Now suppose instead. which is equivalent to Turing’s Thesis 3. and in a finite time but a finite number of such questions can be asked.” If we identify a Turing reduction Φe with its graph Ge both informally and formally then the Post-Turing Thesis is equivalent to Post’s Thesis 5. §11]. A corresponding formulation of “Turing reducibility” should then be the same degree of generality for effective reducibility as say general recursive function is for effective calculability. the process would automatically continue to its eventual correct conclusion. Intuitively. a step as significant as the Church-Turing characterization of “calculable. but it is largely implied by his presentation.2 for unrelativized computations) of what constitutes a relative computation of B from A.). this would correspond to the most general concept of reducibility of S1 to S2 . Turing [1939 §4]. For the very concept of the decision problem of S2 merely involves the answering for an arbitrarily given single positive integer m of the question is m in S2 . §4] in the following extension of Turing’s first Thesis 3. says Turing [1939] in effect.” 6.1 and Post’s first Thesis 5.1.1. Post [1944. Turing’s brief introduction of oracles did not state this as a formal thesis.2 The Post-Turing Thesis Post’s statement may be restated in succinct modern terms and incorporates the statement implicit in Turing [1939. This is surprising because the Post-Turing Thesis was stated clearly in Post [1944]. Post-Turing Thesis.1 (because Ge is c.1. We could then say that the machine effectively reduces the decision problem of S1 to that of S2 . That at certain times the otherwise machine determined process raises the question is a certain positive integer in a given recursively enumerable set S2 of positive integers. A set B is effectively reducible to another set A iff B is Turing reducible to A by a Turing oracle machine (B ≤T A). and that the machine is so constructed that were the correct answer to this question supplied on every occasion that arises. there has been little analysis (along the lines of the extensive analysis of the Church-Turing Thesis 3. Definition 6. Post makes it explicit and claims that this is the formal equivalent of the intuitive notion of effectively reducible. However.e.

C = N A = (2ω − NA ). Also interactive or online computing in the real world is more common than batch processing or offline computing. (iii) Recall the definition of a finite set Dy with canonical index y where Dy = {x1 < x2 .1 Continuous and Total Functionals Representations of Open and Closed Sets Definition 7.ordinary computability in the theory of computability. Define the string σy with canonical index y by σy (z) = 1 if z ∈ Dy and σy (z) = 0 otherwise.. = 2xk . i. Identify the sets A ⊆ ω with their characteristic functions f : ω → {0.e.2.. . 1}.2 Notation for Trees Definition 7. i. Now T is closed downwards (because A is closed upwards).e. . algorithmic complexity and many more. 7.. (iv) Cantor space is 2ω with the following topology (class of open sets).. The open sets of Cantor space are the countable unions of basic open sets. analysis. model theory. i. applications of computability to other areas such as algebra. we shall see that T forms a tree as in Definition 7. Fix any tree T . (iv) Set A ⊆ 2<ω is an open representation of the open set NA = σ∈A Nσ . 7 7. (v) A set C is (topologically) closed if its complement NA is open. Let σ and τ represent finite strings in 2<ω and σ τ or σ f denote that σ is an initial segment of τ or f . σ ∈ T and τ σ imply τ ∈ T .e.1. For every σ ∈ 2<ω the basic open (clopen) set Nσ = { f : f ∈ 2 ω & σ f }. 1} and represent the set of such f as 2ω . (i) Using ordinal notation identify the ordinal 2 with the set of smaller ordinals {0. We may assume A is closed upwards. . (ii) Let 2<ω denote the set of finite strings of 0 s and 1’s. . < xk } and y = 2x1 + 2x2 .2 (i). The sets Nσ are called clopen because they are both closed and open. 31 . finite initial segments of functions f ∈ 2ω . In this case T =dfn 2<ω − A is a closed representation for C. using processes contained entirely inside the machine. σ ∈ A and σ τ implies τ ∈ A. (i) A tree T ⊆ 2<ω is a set closed under initial segments. . Hence. i.e.

32 . (iii) If {Ci }i∈ω is a countable family of closed sets such that ∩i∈F Ci = ∅ for every finite set F ⊆ ω. Given tree T let A = 2<ω − T . Theorem 7. . Then NA is open. The closed sets are closed under finite union and countable intersection since the open sets have the dual properties in Definition 7. Proof. (6) Tσ = { τ : σ τ or τ σ }. Any open cover {Nσ }σ∈A ⊇ 2ω has a finite open subcover {Nσ }σ∈F ⊇ 2ω for some finite subset F ⊆ A. Given any closed C with complement NA define T by putting σ in T if (∀τ σ)[ τ ∈ A ]. (iv) Define the subtree of extendible nodes σ ∈ T . Therefore. (i) K¨nig’s Lemma.e. The term “compactness” refers to any of them. [Compactness]. so any countable union of them is open and any countable intersection is closed. which is called a closed representation for C. These properties can be proved from one another but here we give direct proofs of each.(ii) The set of infinite paths through T is (5) [ T ] = { f : (∀n) [ f n ∈ T ] }. (iv) Finite subcover. Note that [ T ] is always a closed set.4.. many different representations for the same closed set [ T ]. If T ⊆ 2<ω is an infinite tree. closure under finite intersection and countable union. i. and for every closed set C there is a tree T such that C = [ T ]. (⇐=).1 (iii). and intersection Tω = ∩n∈ω Tn . Usually for a given tree T there are many other trees T such that [ T ] = [ T ]. The clopen sets are both open and closed.3. [ T ] = 2ω − NA and [ T ] is closed. then [ T ] is a closed set. but particularly to (iv). (7) T ext = { σ ∈ T : (∃f σ)[ f ∈ [ T ] ] } Note that if the tree T is computable then T ext is co-c. Then T is closed downward and [ T ] = C. (iii) For σ ∈ T define the subtree Tσ of nodes τ ∈ T comparable with σ. then ∩i∈ω Ci = ∅ also. o (ii) If T0 ⊇ T1 . is a decreasing sequence of trees with [ Tn ] = ∅ for every n. then [ Tω ] = ∅. . (=⇒). The following very easy and well-known properties hold for Cantor Space 2ω .e. Theorem 7. If T is a tree. then [ T ] = ∅.3 there is a (nonunique) tree T ⊆ 2<ω such that C = [ T ]. If C ⊆ 2ω is any closed set then by Theorem 7.

If the open sets Ai are also dense open. if B = ∩i Ai a countable 2 intersection of open sets Ai . and A = NA . then they have special significance.5.3 Dense Open Subsets of Cantor Space Definition 7. especially the Finite Extension Paradigm of Kleene and Post. boldface Π0 . (iii) Let T ⊆ 2<ω be a tree. After open and closed sets.e.” Meeting a given requirement Ri amounts to meeting the corresponding dense open set Ai ..4 Effectively Open and Closed Sets If A ⊆ 2<ω is c. much attention is paid in point set topology to Gδ sets (see Oxtoby[1971]). (i) A set A ⊆ S is dense if (∀σ) (∃f (ii) A set A ⊆ S is dense open if (8) (∀τ )(∃σ τ )(∀f σ) [ f ∈ A ]. (ii) If C = 2ω − NA for A c. then f is a limit point.. If f is not isolated. (iii) (10) C ⊆ 2ω is a Π0 class if there is a computable relation R(x) such that 1 C = {f : (∀x) R(f (x))}.7. Banach-Mazur games can be used for finding a point f ∈ ∩i Ai where the the sets Ai are dense and open. then A is effectively Definition 7. which we use to construct sets and degrees meeting an countable sequence of “requirements. (iv) A space S is separable if it has a countable base of open sets. or equivalently if C = [ T ] for a computable tree T ⊆ 2<ω . then C is effectively (computably) closed . We say that σ isolates f because Nσ ∩ [ T ] = { f }.) (v) A class B ⊆ S is Gδ . Let S be Cantor space 2ω or Baire space ω ω .6. This is the paradigm for the finite extension constructions in computability theory and oracle constructions as Kleene and Post. A point f ∈ [ T ] is isolated in [ T ] if (9) (∃σ)[ [ Tσ ] = { f } ].e. (i) (computably) open.e. 33 . 7. i. σ) [ f ∈ A ]. (Both Cantor space and Baire space are separable.

. Define R(σ) iff σ ∈ T . A class C is a Π0 class iff C is effectively closed. Proof. Hence.8. A set A ⊂ 2ω is boldface Σ1 or ΣS if its complement 2ω − A is boldface Π1 or ΠS .We call this lightface Π0 because it is defined in (10) by a universal quantifier 1 outside of a computable relation R(x).e. i. Theorem 7. In advanced analysis or topology courses 34 .. We: (1) usually fix the parameter A and do a construction which is computable relative to the parameter A. (=⇒). and so forth. If A is open. and we say C is in ΠS . if we fix A as a parameter. (⇐=). and (3) replace the closed set by C = [ T A ] for a A-computable tree T . Let C = { f : (∀x) R(f (x)) } for R computable. C = [ T ] 1 for some computable tree T . Define a computable tree T = { σ : (∀τ ⊆ σ)[R(τ )] }. By fixing the parameter A we can apply all the methods of this chapter on A-computable constructions.e. The open (closed) sets of 2ω are exactly the boldface Σ1 (Π1 ) sets and any boldface set is lightface in some parameter A. then A = NA for some countable set A.e. i. set B. Here RS denotes a relation computable in the set S 1 which we call the parameter determining RS . construction of an A-c. such as the Recursion Theorem.) We often convert an open set A = NA into the realm of computability theory as follows.7.5 Continuous Functions on Cantor Space In elementary calculus courses a continuous function is usually defined with δ and concepts or with limits. 7. 1 1 Theorem 7. Let C = [ T ] for T a computable tree. Now A determines exactly which σ contribute in the countable union A = ∪σ∈A Nσ . Then {f : (∀x) R(f (x))} = [ T ]. (But this entire 1 section is about working relative to an oracle. Proof. effectively open relative to the oracle A. Then [ T ] = C. then the definition and properties become lightface ΣA . (iv) A set C ⊆ 2ω is boldface Π1 if there is some set S ⊆ ω such that C = {f : (∀x) RS (f (x))}. (2) often replace the open set NA by its complement the closed set C = N A .

Theorem 7. although it is usually presented in its effective analogue as the theorem that Φe is total iff it is a truth-table reduction. 7. Definition 7. (12) 2ω ⊆ ∪ { Nσ : σ ∈ Xτ }.e. Note that this involves only compactness and has no computable content.τ ) = Xτ .. Therefore. if (∀A)(∃B)(∀x)[ ΨA (x) = B(x) ]. Assume Ψ is total. Now the Compactness Theorem asserts that any open cover of Cantor space 2ω has a finite subcover. (⇐=). 35 . By identifying string σy with code number y defined in Definition 7. τ ) such that Wh(e. i. (=⇒). we can replace every set Xτ by a finite subset Xτ . Then Ψ is total iff for each set Xτ of (11) there is a finite subset Xτ ⊆ Xτ such that. For arbitrary topological spaces an open set is an arbitrary union of basic open sets. For Φe define for every τ ∈ 2<ω the set of strings e (13) Xτ = { σ : (∃s)( ∀x < |τ | ) [ Φσ (x) ↓ = τ (x) ] }. (i) A functional Ψ on Cantor space 2ω is continuous if for every τ ∈ 2<ω there is a countable set Xτ such that (11) Ψ −1 (Nτ ) = ∪ { Nσ : σ ∈ Xτ }. and uniformly so in the sense that there is a computable e function h(e. but for Cantor space we may take countable unions. Theorem 7.e. Given such Xτ for every τ we see that Ψ is total by (12). Let Ψ be a continuous functional on Cantor Space 2ω . (ii) A functional Ψ on Cantor space 2ω is total if ΨA (x) is defined for every A ⊆ ω and x ∈ ω.the more general definition is presented that a function F is continuous iff the image of every basic open set is open. We state continuity now for functionals on the Cantor space 2ω . e.11.s e Then Xτ is c. Then for every τ there is a countable set Xτ which covers 2ω in the sense of (12). Proof.9.6 Effectively Continuous Functionals A Turing functional Φe is not only continuous but effectively continuous in the following sense.10.1 (iii) we can think of Xτ as a subset of ω.

8 8. if B ≤m A via a computable function f (x) then this reduction is bounded by h(x) = f (x) and x ∈ B iff σ(f (x)) = 1 where σ A. that e Xτ is a computably enumerable set of strings.. Since Ψ is continuous.3 we study the more 36 . the set X = ⊕{Xτ : τ ∈ 2<ω } provides a complete oracle for calculating Ψ : 2ω → 2ω . 7. the inverse image of every basic open set Nτ . Given e h(x) imagine a matrix Mx whose rows are all the strings σ of length h(x). Now the set of e strings { Xτ : τ ∈ 2ω } witnesses that the functional Φe is continuous. ϕA (x) ≤ h(x). i. where σ is an initial segment of A.Proof. Proof. Now we prove that any continuous functional on 2ω is a Turing functional relative to some real parameter X ⊆ ω and therefore is effectively continuous relative to X. The action on x is entirely determined by the action of Φσ (x) for these rows e σ ∈ Mx . We begin in §8..1 (iii) we defined σy to be the string with canonical index y derived from Dy . Since Xτ is not only countable but also computably enumerable uniformly in e the functional Φe is effectively continuous. only the matrix Mx . i.e. (identifying strings σ with their code numbers as integers) there is a set Xτ ⊆ ω such that. i.1 Bounded Reducibilities A Matrix Mx for Bounded Reducibilities A bounded reducibility is a Turing reducibility ΦA (x) with a computable e function h(x) which bounds the use function.13. i.e. Then Ψ is a Turing functional relative to some real parameter X ⊆ ω.e. Suppose Ψ is a continuous functional on 2ω . Theorem 7.. e Definition 7.12.2 with the most general bounded reducibility called bounded Turing reducibility (B ≤bT A) where we are given only the computable bound h(x).e. This gives a method for indexing the rows σy ∈ Mx . Therefore. Ψ−1 ( Nτ ) = ∪ { Nσ : σ ∈ Xτ }. is open and therefore is a countable union of basic open sets. indeed effectively continuous. In §8. For example. Identify string σ with Nσ . Use the Oracle Graph Ge . τ ∈ 2<ω .7 Continuous Functions are Relatively Computable We showed that any Turing functional is continuous.. Hence. In Definition 7.

When A x has settled then B x has settled also. (ii) ΦA = B for some total ΦX that is (∀X)(∃Y )(∀x)[ ΦX (x) = Y (x) ]. More recently.e. (i) B ≤tt A as defined in Definition 8. The bT and ibT reductions occur naturally in several parts of the subject.1.3 Truth-Table Reductions Definition 8. often we are given a noncomputable c.2. ibT has occurred in applications of computability to differential geometry in Soare [2004] and Csima-Soare [ta].2 and (14). e (ii) A set B is identity bounded Turing reducible to A (B ≤ibT A) if B ≤bT A with h(x) = x. and also e (14) (∀x)(∀σ)[ |σ| = h(x) =⇒ Φσ (x) ↓ e ].3 (iii).2 Bounded Turing Reducibility Definition 8. e e e 37 . 8. nitions of tt-reducible are equivalent.restrictive case of truth-table reducibility (B ≤tt A) where Φσ (x) converges e for every x and every row σ ∈ Mx . (i) A set B is bounded Turing reducible (bT-reducible) to a set A (B ≤bT A) if there is a Turing reduction ΦA = B and a computable e function h(x) such that the use ϕA (x) ≤ h(x). This convergence on all strings σy ∈ Mx is the key defining property for a tt-reduction as expressed in (14). Barmpalias and Lewis [ta] have shown the nondensity of the ibT -degrees of c. For example. Nerode]. as described later. 8. set A and we construct a simple set B ≤T A by simple permitting where an element x is allowed to enter B at stage some stage only if some y ≤ x has just entered A. The following defi- Theorem 8. and ibT reducibility has also been used in applications to algorithmic randomness and Kolmogorov complexity.1. A set B is truth-table reducible to set a A (B ≤tt A) if B ≤bT A via ΦA = B and h(x) as in Definition 8.3. If Φσ (x) diverges for even one x and e σ ∈ Mx then the reduction is a partial bT-reduction. [Truth-Table Theorem. but if it converges for every x and every σ ∈ Mx then it gives a genuine truth-table as in beginning logic courses as defined in Theorem 8.e. sets. and hence B ≤ibT A.

and (iii) ⇐⇒ (iv) are obvious. §6] introduced the first definition of B ≤tt A. x ∈ B ⇐⇒ (∃z ∈ Dg(x ) [ A (h(x) + 1) = Dz ]. It remains to prove (ii) =⇒ (iii). Proof. The implications (i) =⇒ (ii). filling in all columns / less than h(x).2.(iii) B ≤tt A via ΦA and h(x) as in Definition 8. e Since Φe is total apply the Compactness Theorem 7. .1. (iii) =⇒ (i). there is a e computable function g(x) such that Dg(x) = { y : |σy | = h(x) & Φe y (x) = 1 }. . In addition. Uniformly in x we can effectively enumerate the set Ux = { σ : Φσ (x) ↓ }. Define h(x) and g(x) by h(x) = max{ |σ| : σ ∈ Vx }. σ Remark 8. and replacing + by 1 and − by 0 we have exactly the matrix Mx described in §8.2 above where we could attach to matrix Mx an extra column with the value Φσ (x) on row σ.4 (iv) to get a finite subset Vx ⊆ Ux such that ∪{ Nσ : σ ∈ Vx } ⊇ 2ω . Post’s extra column converted the matrix Mx into a total reduction because A had to extend exactly one of the rows Rz and then the value for B(x) was completely specified by vz given in advance. (ii) =⇒ (iii). Letting h(x) be the maximum of the {mi }i≤k . Dg(x) = { y : |σy | = h(x) & Φe y (x) = 1 }. and m1 . Post [1944. Post’s original definition [1944] of B ≤tt A is virtually identical in intuition and description to our Definition 8. He then drew a diagram of a matrix with columns m1 . Property (iv) of B ≤tt A has been used in the 38 . . mk . . In both cases the e crucial point is that Φσ (x) is defined for every string of length h(x) before e examining the oracle A. Next Post drew a vertical line to the right of this matrix and added an extra column such that an entry vz in this column following row Rz indicated that if A satisfies row Rz then x ∈ B iff vz = +. m2 . Therefore. σ (iv) There exist computable functions g and h such that. For every integer n he required a effective procedure to produce integers k. . for all x.4. . mk and 2k rows with individual entries of + for x ∈ A and − for x ∈ A.

The concept of tt-reducibility is tied to the totality of the reduction ΦA which is exactly what bT-reducibility lacks.e. e Also bT is more recognizable than wtt whose meaning cannot be guessed from its name. in 1959 Friedberg and Rogers introduced wtt-reducibility (B ≤wtt A) as a weakening of tt-reducibility which was already a strengthening of ≤T .e. Now consider special cases based upon how many times the approximation changes on x. Theorem 8.. sets are the usual c.e.5. which has the same definition as wtt. n-c. and the 2-c.past e. sets. (15) A = lims As & | { s : As (x) = As+1 (x) } | ≤ g(x).e. Thus. The next theorem gives an elegant characterization of ω-c.. The concept of bounded Turing reducibility (bT).e. sets are the d.) if there is a computable sequence {As }s∈ω with A0 = ∅ and a computable function g(x) which bounds the number of changes in the approximation {As }s∈ω in the following sense.e. (iii) For n ∈ ω the set A is n-c.e. (iii) A ≤tt ∅ . sets The Limit Lemma characterized sets A ≤T ∅ as those such that A = lims As for a computable sequence {As }s∈ω . (i) A ≤bT ∅ . ≤bT has distance one from the main reducibility of ≤T . Therefore. sets. sets. and ω-c.e.e. (written ω-c. the 1-c. set is ∅. Definition 8.e. sets A but not the most general case of A ≤T ∅ . The following are equivalent.e. sets (d.e.g. 83] and is short and slick but is does not give the necessary elegance and intuition for beginning students. Soare [1987.e. sets. sets.e.e.6. if g(x) ≤ n. the concept of wtt has distance two from the central concept ≤T . 8. These notions are more general than c. Turing reducibility was not well understood in 1944 and an understanding of it in its modern state emerged only gradually during the 1940’s and 1950’s. (ii) The set A is omega-c. (i) A set D is the difference of c. Post’s tt-reducibility in 1944 was understood at once.c. (ii) A is ω-c. goes immediately to the main concept of bounding the queried information by a computable function h(x). p. the only 0-c.e. 39 . For example.) if D = A − B where A and B are c.c. Therefore.e.4 Difference of c.

For a given x the truth-table has rows of width g(x) as in Definition 8. Now As+1 (x) = As (x) only if some element z ≤ g(x) enters ∅ which can happen at most g(x) + 1 times.e.Proof. The Turing o-machine is a better model to study them because the Turing a-machine lacks this online capacity. (i) =⇒ (ii). because the approximation changes between 0 and 1 starting with 0. First build a truth-table to demonstrate that A ≤tt C. we can make up a row in the truth-table which gives value for A(x) based only on the number of changes. Next find the row with k many 1’s. Now A(x) = 1 iff k is odd. g(x)]. Clearly. A ≤tt C. 1} rather than in ω. the assumption on h(x) ensures that A ≤bT D. However. This ensures that A ≤tt D. (iii) implies (i). Now to tt-compute from C whether x ∈ A compute k = |C x |. This result shows the difference between T -reductions and tt-reductions. 9 Online Computing The original implementations of computing devices were generally offline devices such as calculators or batch processing devices. (Intuitively. First. on row ω [x] . C ≤m 0 and therefore A ≤tt 0 . whenever As (x) = As+1 (x) we put into C the least element of the form k. (ii) =⇒ (iii). Define the c. Hence. |C [x] | is the number of changes on x during the approximation. x .. i. Hence. Let e e As (x) = Φ∅ (x)[ s ] where we may speed up the computation so the latter is e always defined. Assume A = lims As satisfies (15) via g(x). once for each z ∈ [0. the approximation always begins with As (x) = 0 for s = 0 and changes between 0 and 1 because all values are in {0. Therefore. Furthermore. in recent years the implementations have been increasingly online computing devices which can access or interact with some external database or other device. Suppose Φ∅ = A with computable bound g(x) ≥ ϕ∅ (x). 40 . not already in C. x : 1 < k ≤ | {s : As (x) = As+1 (x)} | }. Second. However. For each k ≤ g(x) construct a row beginning with k many 1 s followed by all 0 s. A(x) = 1 iff |C [x] | is odd.2 (ii).) Therefore. This case is unusual since most reductions we consider only produce A ≤T B for some set B and sometimes produce A ≤bT B as in permitting arguments. change set C by C={ k.e. and |C [x] | ≤ g(x) by hypothesis (ii).e. C is c.

” About the chapter. A Theory of Interactive Computation by Jan van Leeuwen and Jiri Wiedermann. finitary models of computation.” 41 . who fed them to the computer and produced paper output later.” It appears that the Turing o-machine is a good theoretical model to analyze an interactive process because there is usually a fixed algorithm or procedure at the core. which when coded into integers may be regarded as a Turing type oracle. “In this chapter. evolving programs should look like.1. not interacting with any external device. A laptop obtaining data from the World Wide Web is a good example. In the real world the database would not be literally infinite but may appear so (like the web) and is usually too large to be conveniently downloaded into the local computer. and proceeds internally. (ii) An offline computing process is one which begins with a program and input data. There are many descriptions in the computing literature about online and interactive processes. In real world computing the oracle may be called a database or an environment. and batch processing devices where a user handed a deck of punched IBM cards to an operator. The authors point out that a theory of interactive computation must necessarily lead beyond the classical. A simple model of interactive computing is presented consisting of one component and an environment. Sometimes the local computer is called the “client” and the remote device the “server. and broadens the notion of algorithms to include interaction by allowing intra-step interaction of an algorithm with its environment. This includes a calculator. which by Turing’s thesis we can identify with a Turing a-machine. for example a computer communicating with an external data base such at the World Wide Web. (i) An online or interactive computing process is one which interacts with its environment. Under the Post-Turing Thesis 6. Interactive Algorithms 2005 is described.1 these real world online or interactive processes can be described by a Turing oracle machine.Definition 9. interacting using single streams of input and output signals. and there is a mechanism for the process to communicate with its environment. In [Goldin-Smolka-Wegner] a chapter by Yuri Gurevich. Gurevich asserts that computer science is largely about algorithms. “This chapter asks what a computational theory of interactive. the book states.

9. An o-machine has fixed program but has the capacity to interact with its environment and receive new data during its computation. p. 1947.2 Trial and Error Computing We expect Turing a-machines and o-machines to be absolutely correct. but let us now examine the reverse direction. • A large number and rapidly increasing number of computing processes in the real world are online or interactive. • A large number of books presenting an introduction to computability mention Turing oracle machines and relative computability very late in the book or not at all.g. there are many computing processes in the real world which give a sequence of approximations to the final answer. or only the ChurchTuring Thesis. • A large number of books with articles on Turing and the ChurchTuring Thesis do not mention Turing oracle machines or relative computability at all. However. • The original Turing a-machines are not online. In his talk to the London Mathematical Society. 9. Instead of it sometimes giving no answer we could arrange that it gives 42 . that o-machines are online while a-machines are not. February 20. Discussing only Turing a-machines in modern texts. See the authors in [GoldinSmolka-Wegner] for only a few. and not the Post-Turing Thesis on oracle computers. “I would say that fair play must be given to the machine. The following points appear self-evident. is like discussing only batch processing machines of the 1950’s long after the emergence of online computing. A Turing a-machine. Christof Teuscher [2004]. e. even a universal machine. • Turing oracle machines are online. begins with a fixed program and fixed input and proceeds without further outside input until (if ever) it halts. quoted in Hodges.. 360–361. Turing considered machines which make mistakes.1 Turing Machines and Online Processes We could continue analyzing to what extent Turing oracle machines can model modern online processes. Turing said.

3 The Limit Lemma There are several different approaches for computing with finite errors. equivalent. 1959]. a financial trader receiving information from around the world updated every second.2. A computable sequence of computable sets {Bs }s∈ω is a computable (∆0 ) approximating sequence for a set B if B = lims Bs . This is a model for many processes in the real world which allow finitely many mistakes but gradually move closer to the correct answer. (In practice. In other words if a machine is expected to be infallible. Definition 9. Proof. It is easy for us to regard these blunders as not counting and give him another chance. (ii) B is limit computable. Lemma 9. (See Soare [1987] or Soare [CTA] Lemma 3. B is is both two quantifier forms. 9. that is. [Limit Lemma. But the human mathematician would likewise make blunders when trying out new techniques. a meteorologist predicting the weather a week from now given constantly updated weather conditions today. “oracle set” A. but the machine would probably be allowed no mercy.) Now in the real world imagine an example of a computing process with error such as: a robot learning a maze.occasional wrong answers. But these theorems say nothing about how much intelligence may be displayed if a machine makes no pretence at infallibility.6. (i) B ≤T A for some c. There are several theorems which say exactly that.e. Shoenfield. Hillary Putnam [1965] described trial and error predicates as ones for which there is a computable function which arrives at the correct answer after a finite number of mistakes. In modern terminology this is called a limit computable function as described in Soare [1987] or Soare [CTA] Chapter 3.3. If there is such a sequence we say that B is limit computable. In our idealized model we assume that the individual makes finitely many errors during the process {Bt }t∈T for time periods t ∈ T but eventually gets the correct answer.3. it cannot also be intelligent. (iii) B ∈ ∆2 . the final answer may not be 43 The following are .

) 9.1 Two Models for Computing With Error The Limit Computable Model In the limit computable or approximation model we have a sequence of Turing programs {Pt : t ∈ T } so that Pt computes function gt at time t ∈ T . set A (or even a ∆0 set) and oracle 2 machine Φe such that B = ΦA .4 9.2 The Online Model By the Limit Lemma there is a c.4. The configuration at his trading desk may be described using the Limit Lemma by a computable function where gt is the computable characteristic function of Bt .exactly correct in these examples. and other approximations in real time. the configuration of his computation at the end of time t. meteorology. and computes the approximation Bt (x) = ΦAt (x). Now the trader can program the algorithm e Φe into his laptop once and for all at the start of the trading day. How will the trader write a program to uniformly compute the index gt for t ∈ T ? 9.4. He does not (and cannot) change the program Φe every second.e. There is not necessarily any connection between different programs and we may have to compute all over again with a new program as we pass from time t to t + 1. even if not exact. The computable function gt gives an algorithm to compute the condition Bt at time t but it gives no relationship between Bt and Bt+1 . are usually useful in financial trading. Milan. Suppose the financial trader in Chicago receives data every second t ∈ T about currency prices in London. The sequences of improving approximations. It is difficult to see how this trader could have carried out his business using a batch processing. 44 . instead of an online model. His algorithm simply receives the “oracle” information At from the internet as it is continually updated. Turing a-machine model. His program e then executes a trade when the algorithm determines that conditions are favorable. New York and Tokyo. It will not be possible for the trader to write a new program every second. Every second t ∈ T he receives from New York and abroad the latest quotes At which enter directly into his computer by an internet connection. but is presumably more accurate than the first approximation B0 .

Kleene later o introduced the term “recursive function theory” for the subject although G¨del disagreed (see below). often when replaced by something else. theses of many prominent researchers in the field. Kleene with some additional influence by Emil Post as described earlier. three of its leaders. perhaps by accident. “Dedicated to S. Turing.” After 1996 the term the term ‘recursive” was again used only to mean “inductive” not “computable” or 45 . When computabiliy theory originated in the 1930’s it was a very small field attempting to consolidate its ideas. In dedicating his book Degrees of Unsolvability [1971] Shoenfield recognized Kleene’s overwhelming influence. and Church effectively left the field after 1940 and had little o direct influence thereafter on its development. simply acting from the exigencies of the situation at the time. There are three important issues in computability which have at one time been displaced from their correct or proper positions as evaluated by historical and scientific criteria. These issues are at the very heart of the subject and they define how we think about computability. that were not consistent with the original development of computability in the 1930’s and would not have been approved of by G¨del and Turing.D. However. G¨del. We now examine these three issues one by one in the next three sections. o 11 “Computable” versus “Recursive” Starting in 1936. but are not consistent with a careful scientific analysis later. although Church supervised the Ph. Furthermore. These items may have been displaced accidentally or without conscious thought or decision. a number of changes took place after 1940. After 1940 the field was developed and promulgated primarily by Stephen C. Church and Kleene used the term “recursive” to mean “computable” even though Turing and G¨del later objected.C.10 Three Displacements in Computability Theory The dictionary defines “displacement” to be the moving of something from its rightful place or position.” This is entirely accurate and without Kleene’s leadership we would not have the field as we know it today. This was the first time in history that the o term “recursive” which had meant roughly “inductive” acquired the additional meaning “computable” of “calculable. Kleene who made recursive function theory into a theory.

Church and Kleene knew almost immediately and published by 1936 the proof of the formal equivalence of recursive functions with λ-definable functions.” Church had seen his first thesis rejected by G¨del o and was heavily invested in the acceptance of his 1936 thesis in terms of 46 .” The irony is that the term “computable” was there all along and was preferred by Turing and G¨del. Church’s Thesis 2. perhaps unduly influenced by rather chilly receptions from audiences around 1933–35 to disquisitions on λ-definability. Indeed Church seems to have preferred the λ-definable functions and caused Turing to write his thesis [1939] in that formalism. . Church and Kleene used the second version of Church’s Thesis above. Ironically. after general recursiveness had appeared. ” Church and Kleene were simply doing what most scientists do. . Church was very eager for mathematicians to accept his thesis and he know that the recursive functions were more familiar to a mathematical audience than λ-definable ones.” From 1931 to 1934 Church and Kleene had used the λ-definable functions as the formal equivalent of effectively calculable functions. o 11. .1 (First Version) [1934] “A function is effectively calculable if and only if it is λ-definable. arrange the work in a framework which will be understandable and appealing to as large a scientific audience as possible. this is exactly what caused the change in 1996 from “recursive” back to “computable” because in 1996 the term “computable” was much better understood by a general audience than “recursive. phrased in terms of recursive functions primarily for public relations as Kleene [1981] explained. o 11. and Church had first proposed his thesis privately to G¨del in that form. After seeing G¨del’s lectures in 1934 Church and Kleene dropped o the λ-definable functions and adopted the recursive functions. chose.2 Church and Kleene Define “Recursive” as “Computable” By 1936 Kleene and Church had begun thinking of the word “recursive” to mean “computable. to put my work in that format.” When G¨del strongly rejected to o this thesis Church turned instead to G¨del’s own Herbrand-G¨del general o o recursive functions as a formalism and proposed in [1935] and [1936] the well-known form of his thesis.2 [1936] A function on the positive integers is effectively calculable if and only if it is recursive.1 Church Defends Church’s Thesis with “Recursive” Recall Church’s Thesis 2.“calculable. “I myself. This was not because of the inadequacy of λ-definable functions in comparison to the recursive functions.

Martin Davis casually used the term “recursive function theory” as it was used then. under the influence of Church and Kleene. In a discussion with G¨del at the Institute for Advanced Study in o Princeton about 1952–54.recursive functions. p. Church wrote in [1936. a computable function). This is apparently the first appearance of the term “recursively enumerable” in the literature and the first appearance of “recursively” as an adverb meaning “effectively” or “computably.” (See Peter’s work on recursions in [1934] and[1951].” In the same year Kleene [1936.” Thereafter.” “normal set. 11.” as if I were writing in Chinese and translating back into English. as related by o Martin Davis.3 G¨del Rejects “Recursive Function Theory” o Neither Turing nor G¨del ever used the word “recursive” to mean “como putable. “To my surprise. adopted this terminology of “recursive” and “recursively enumerable” over his own terminology [1943]. Most people access to a personal computer on their desks and the terms of computing were familiar to the general population but “recursive” was limited to very small number who mainly associated it with a first year programming course or a definition by induction on mathematics and almost never with computability. saying that the term in o question should be used with reference to the kind of work Rosza Peter did. it was firmly established. Without the acceptance of this thesis Church had no unsolvable problem. “Let f be a recursive function (that is. By a “recursive enumeration” Kleene states that he means “a recursive sequence (i. 238] cited in Davis [1965] [p. So few people understood the meaning of “recursive” that by 1990 I had to begin my papers with.” “generated set. Davis related.” Post [1944].” G¨del never used the term “recursive function theory” to name o the subject.. the successive values of a recursive function of one variable). p. 96] printed in Davis [1965] that a “recursively enumerable set” is one which is the range of a recursive function. [1944] of “effectively generated set.e. 47 . 238] mentioned a “recursive enumeration” and noted that there is no recursive enumeration of Herbrand-G¨del systems of equations which gives only the o systems which define the (total) recursive functions. when others did G¨del reacted sharply negatively. G¨del reacted sharply.) By 1990 the situation had become very difficult.

11.S.” When one uses a term like “recursive” to also mean “computable” or “algorithmic” as Kleene did. Turing and G¨del. most researchers.” Did he mean that recursion and inductive definition began with Dedekind or that computability and algorithms began there? The latter would contradict his several other statements.” We already have one. Colorado referenced in Soare [2000]. Three years later at the A. p. Changing back from from “recursive” to “computable” during 1996–1999 has had a number of advantages. 44] wrote.11. had adopted the new terminology and conventions. Kleene [1981b.C. overturning a sixty year old tradition of Kleene. the Greeks and other early civilizations. in a few months more people were convinced by the undeniable logic of the situation. “I think we can say that recursive function theory was born there ninety-two years ago with Dedekind’s Theorem 126 (‘Satz der Definition durch Induktion’) that functions can be defined by primitive recursion. The founders of the two key models of computabilty. I wrote an article on Computability and Recursion for the Bulletin of Symbolic Logic [1996] on the history and scientific reasons for why we should use “computable” and not “recursive” to mean “calculable.). We do not need another word to mean “computable.M. p. especially those under forty years old. then one is never sure whether a particular instance means “calculable” or “inductive” and our language has become indistinct.) set” did not come tripping from the lips. The object of 48 . such as Kleene [1988.5 Changing “Recursive” Back to “Inductive” By 1996 the confusion had become intolerable. had never used “recursive” to mean como putable and indeed had objected when it was so used. conference in Boulder.4 The Ambiguity in the Term “Recursive” The traditional meaning of “recursive” as “inductive” led to ambiguity.e. However. Kleene often wrote of calculation and algorithms dating back to the Babylonians. Historical Accuracy. 19] where he wrote. and the words “computability theory” and “computably enumerable (c. At first few were willing to make such a dramatic change. “The recognition of algorithms goes back at least to Euclid (c. However. 330 B. Returning “recursive” to its original meaning of “inductive” has made its use much clearer.” “Recursive” should mean “inductive” as is had for Dedekind and Hilbert.

Names matter today as we try to relate our specialty of computability to the world of computers and algorithmic procedures all around us. while o at first G¨del’s own model of Herbrand-G¨del recursive functions did o o not. not in an attempt to better understand the nature of recursion and inductive definition. Scientific Accuracy. The object was never to understand the notion of recursions or inductive definitions. Suppose a student is scanning a catalogue for a course to take and sees the course title “Recursive Function Theory” versus “Computability Theory. the former being a bit more general.” to run back. Name Recognition. To the extent that they have any idea about “recursive” they understand it in this context. In 1935 Church adopted G¨del’s recursive o functions as a definition of effectively calculable before seeing Turing machines As Kleene relates. apply for jobs under the general area of his work as the first or second? Should a professor write an abstract for his lecture at another university under the first title or second? Names do matter.everyone was to formally capture the informal concept of “effectively calculable” which Turing machines did to G¨del’s satisfaction. a first year programming course speaks of definition by iteration versus definition by recursion. The word has nothing to do with “calculate” or “compute. 49 . They mattered to Church and Kleene in 1936 when they changed from the term “λ-definable function” to “recursive function” to achieve greater name recognition among mathematicians and to make Church’s Thesis more convincing before the appearance of Turing.” The general public understands the first two words in this context. The word “recursive” means a procedure characterized by recurrence or repetition from the Latin verb “recurrere. a world partially created by Turing. For example.D.” Which will give him more information about the content of the course? Should a fresh Ph. The words “calculate” and “compute” are very close in the dictionary. Church and Kleene did this as a matter of public relations to relate to a concept mathematicians could understand.

317] began a new section §62 and called it “Church’s thesis” instead of “Thesis I” as he had been doing. “This thesis is also implicit in the conception of a computing machine formulated by Turing 1936–7 and Post 1936.” Apparently he did not feel it necessary to include Turing’s name when he used the term “Church’s thesis. p. Kleene was aware of other similar “theses” advanced nearly simultaneously and he continued [1952. “This heuristic evidence and other considerations led Church 1936 to propose the following thesis. 300] took up where Kleene [1943] had left off.” Next Kleene begins a subtle shift of terminology from “Thesis I” to “Church’s thesis.” Kleene [1952. not putting forth a “thesis. p. Thesis I.” Kleene wrote [1952.” This is identical with what we previously called Church’s Thesis 2.2 Kleene Named it “Church’s thesis” in [1952] Later in his very influential book [1952] it is fascinating to see how Kleene’s thinking and terminology progressed from “Thesis I” to “Church’s Thesis” and not to “Turing’s Thesis” or the “Church-Turing Thesis. p.” These were not even called “theses” at all until Kleene [1943. Kleene wrote. Church’s thesis. “ §62. One of the main objectives of this and the next chapter is to present the evidence for Church’s thesis (Thesis I) §60.300].” 12. 60] referred to Church’s “definition” as “Thesis I. Every effectively calculable function (effectively decidable predicate) is general recursive.” 50 .2. p.12 12. Of course.1 Renaming it the “Computability Thesis?” Kleene Called it “Thesis I” in [1943] In the 1930’s both Church and Turing thought they were giving definitions of an effectively calculable function.

These arguments have been cited in hundreds of computability books and papers for the last half century. the “(B) Equivalence of diverse formulations:” such as the (Herbrand-G¨del) general recursive functions. .” 12. working according to preassigned instructions. .3 Kleene Dropped “Thesis I” for “Church’s thesis” As Kleene progressed through [1952. Ironically. pp. .” Turing’s computable functions [1936–7] are those which can be computed by a machine of a kind which is designed. p. we take to be already confirmed by the intuitive notion (cf. §62..4 Evidence for the Computability Thesis In one of the most familiar parts of the book. After some heuristic evidence in (A). ” “The converse of Church’s thesis. 318–319]. ” “While we cannot prove Church’s thesis. “ Church’s thesis. to clinch the evidence for Church’s thesis Kleene began a new part (C) where he appealed to Turing’s work and wrote. . 319]. that every general recursive function ϕ is effectively calculable. Kleene summarized the evidence for “Church’s thesis” in [1952. Turing’s formulation hence constitutes an independent statement of Church’s thesis. and systems of Post [1943] and [1946] of canonical and normal systems. Turing’s notion is thus the result of a direct attempt to formulate mathematically the notion of effective calculability. . §60). while other notions arose differently and were afterwards identified with effective calculability. since its role is to delimit precisely an hitherto vaguely conceived totality. 318–319] he dropped any reference to “Thesis I” and used only “Church’s thesis” with no mention of Turing or Post in the thesis. by supplying a precise delimitation of all effectively calculable functions.” 51 . i. to reproduce all sorts of operations which a human computer could perform. Turing computable functions. §62.e. we require evidence that it cannot conflict with the intuitive notion which it is supposed to complete. He wrote [1952. according to his analysis.12. λ-definable funco tions. p. Kleene presented perhaps the most powerful evidence. “(C) Turing’s Concept of a Computing Machine. .

” Definition 12. or defined by any of the other formalisms. 12.” Kleene omits Turing’s name from the thesis even though in part (C) above he gave Turing credit as the only one who made a “direct attempt to formulate mathematically the notion of effective calculability.2. It does not refer to one single man or to one single formalism. A formal mathematical definition for effectively calculable functions. is usually listed under the name “Church’s Thesis” as in the title of the new book [Olszewski. As an intensional claim it had nothing to do with the recursive functions of Church’s Thesis 2. From now on when Kleene uses the term “Church’s thesis” he means the following “Computability Thesis.2. It was only the equivalence of Turing computable functions first with λ-definable functions and hence with recursive functions which links them extensionally but not intensionally. Many people today use “Church’s Thesis” in this way.1.We see here the amalgamation of different meanings into a single term (just as for “recursive” above). The Formalism. A function on the positive integers is effectively calculable if and only if it is recursive or Turing computable.5 Who First Demonstrated the Computability Thesis? Demonstrating something like the Computability Thesis requires two steps. Turing’s work was to establish the connection between effectively calculable functions and Turing computable functions in Turing’s Thesis 3. It is exactly here that Kleene introduces (without explicit mention) another convention and term which has lasted until today. and he regards them interchangeably. Kleene here was using the term “Church’s thesis” to include Turing’s Thesis and Turing’s justification.2. [The Computability Thesis Emerges]. 2007] with no mention of Turing. Note that the Computability Thesis is essentially the same as what we have called the Church-Turing Thesis 3.1. Turing invented the new formalism of Turing machines because this was closest to his idea of a mechanical process and because it lent itself to proving that any effectively calculable function lay in this class. 52 . The Computability Thesis. [The Computability Thesis]. Church [1936] proposed G¨del’s general recursive funco tions [1934]. regardless of their intensional or historical import. Remark 12. Kleene knows that the various formal definitions all coincide extensionally. used extensively in the subject.

at least intensionally.” Turing’s Thesis [1936. §7] for his thesis was this. was not convinced as o we have seen in §2 and §3. “Turing’s analysis makes no reference whatsoever to calculating machines. The flaw in Church’s argument [1936. 82] observed. but surely Gandy meant Turing’s Thesis. . Turing machines appear as a result. . G¨del had shown that the o steps in his formal system P were primitive recursive. because Turing did not prove anything in [1936] or anywhere else about general recursive functions. Define c0 . .. 53 .1 is that every intuitively computable (effectively calculable) function is computable by a Turing machine.’ it proves a theorem. . 64] or Shoenfield [1967. . because as he pointed out. No modern book uses the H-G general recursive formalism to define the effectively calculable functions. Gandy [1988. c0 . . pcn .” Church analyzed the informal notion of the calculation of a value f (n) = m according to a step-by-step approach (so called by Gandy [1988. pp. p. . cn = pc0 · pc1 . 0 ≤ i < n. 83–84] pointed out. 3 Gandy actually wrote “Church’s thesis” not “Turing’s thesis” as written here. We say that the calculation is stepwise n 0 1 recursive if there is a partial recursive function ψ such that ψ( c0 . of his analysis of calculations by humans. The second and perhaps more important step is to prove that the informal notion of a person calculating a function can be simulated by the formal model. and that the expressions have been given code numbers. 77]) from two points of view. the computability thesis. ci ) = ci+1 for all i. . Church used the Herbrand-G¨del general recursive functions o as his formal model but even their inventor. this second step is so crucial that it has been referred to as a “theorem” by Gandy and others. a codification. cn . p. . and second as the derivation in some formal system.” Although it is not a formal proof. first by an application of an algorithm. p. . Church began by defining an “effectively calculable” function to be one for which “there exists an algorithm for the calculation of its values. pp. c1 . as Gandy [1988. Following Davis [1958. “Turing’s analysis does much more than provide an argument for ‘Turing’s Thesis.”3 Furthermore. A considerably more serious objection is that there was a flaw in Church’s demonstration that every effectively calculable function is general recursive.The Demonstration. G¨del. §9] stated in Definition 3. We refer to this step as a “demonstration” rather than a formal “proof. This step is not a purely mathematical one but it needs to be as convincing and logical as possible. In contrast. 120–121] it is reasonable to suppose that the calculation of f proceeds by writing expressions on a sheet of paper. i. . .e. c1 .

There was a great controversy about priority up until Leibniz’s death in 1716. that the entire o process is µ-recursive.If the basic steps are stepwise recursive. Gandy [1988. for example by Church. 87]. The fatal weakness in Church’s argument was the core assumption that the atomic steps were stepwise recursive. Newton did not publish it until 1687 although most believe he had been working on it before Leibniz began in 1674. 79] and especially Sieg [1994. Sieg [p. . The British Royal Society handed down a verdict in 1715 crediting Isaac Newton with the discovery of the calculus. . Gottfried Leibniz began work on the calculus in 1674 and published his account of the differential calculus in 1684 and the integral calculus in 1686. in their excellent analyses. 57]).” who wrote that without this assumption it is difficult to see how the notion of a system of logic can be given any exact meaning at all. 78] wrote. brought out this weakness in Church’s argument. 12.” Sieg [p. It is exactly this stumbling block which Turing overcame by a totally new approach.6 The Computability Thesis and the Calculus Why all the fuss over names? Why not simply use the term “Church’s Thesis” invented by Kleene [1952]. mathematics throughout the eighteenth century was typified by an elaboration of the differential and integral calculus in which mathematicians generally discarded Newton’s fluxional calculus in favor of the new methods presented by Leibniz. 80] wrote. “Despite this ruling of the Royal Society. whose name should it be? Isaac Newton began working on a form of the calculus in 1666 but did not publish it until much later.” 54 . something he did not justify. 1935 (see Kleene [1987b. and let it refer to the “Computability Thesis?” This is in fact what is widely (and incorrectly) done. Newton was more established than Leibniz and had vigorous supporters. The Wiki encylopedia wrote. Newton and his followers campaigned vigorously for his position. “. and that stumbling block was quite clearly seen by Church. this core does not provide a convincing analysis: steps taken in a calculus must be of a restricted character and they are assumed. p. If we had to attach a single name to “the calculus” every time we mentioned it. without argument to be recursive. 80. and stating that Leibniz was guilty of plagarism (although these charges were later proved false). “It is precisely here that we encounter the major stumbling block for Church’s analysis. then it follows easily by the Kleene Normal Form Theorem which Kleene had proved and communicated to G¨del before November. pp. p.

Leibnitz began later than Newton. “mathematicians generally discarded Newton’s fluxional calculus in favor of the new methods presented by Liebniz.2. The general recursive functions are used only in an historical discussion. The Kleene o µ-recursive functions have other uses but are were not mentioned in the original Church’s Thesis 2.12.” 5.7 Founders of Computability and the Calculus There is a parallel between the development of the Calculus and the demonstration of the Computability Thesis. (This refers to the Herbrand-G¨del general recursive functions. Both Leibniz and Turing worked at a distance and independently of Newton and Church.D. Church’s o claim to the Computability Thesis was affirmed by his former Ph. The general recursive functions are never seen. despite the Royal Society ruling. For the calculus. 3. Newton was in the position of power with the Royal Society which not only affirmed his claim but denied the claim by his rival Leibniz. 1.) 4. Turing began slightly later than Church. Church and Turing both worked independently on it and came up with different models. respectively. Kleene deliberately and overwhelmingly established 55 . the Turing machines (and other calculating machines like register machines) dominate. However. Kleene’s µ-recursive functions are sometimes used in courses and mistakenly called recursive functions but to prove that an effectively calculable function is µ-recursive requires a tedious arithmetization as in G¨del’s incompleteness theorem [1931] and is o virtually never done. 2. student Stephen Kleene [1952]. unaware of the work by another researcher. Church was the senior figure in computability (after G¨del). Kleene occasionally mentioned Turing’s Thesis and repeatedly used the Turing machine model and Turing’s demonstration of its success to demonstrate the Computability Thesis. In computer science. Turing’s model of Turing machines is overwhelmingly more appealing and popular that Church’s model of the (Herbrand-G¨del) general o recursive functions. 6. a model which is rarely presented in any books and never used for actual calculations in any courses.

” “Church’s Thesis” means the “Computability Thesis. words that are given arbitrary and nonstandard meaning by the author: “recursive” means “computable. It would also be wrong to refer to “the Newton Calculus” without mentioning Leibniz. It is ambiguous to use “recursive” with both meanings. Remark 12. Kleene just does not include Turing in the name he chose. but Kleene was certainly successful in excluding Turing’s name from the Computability Thesis. The problem is simply that Kleene has not given Turing credit in his naming of the Computability Thesis. “the Computability Thesis” and not “Church’s Thesis. Unlike the calculus. ” at a time when nobody called it a thesis and when the field was about to rapidly expand in the 1950’s and 1960’s and would turn to Kleene for direction as the last representative of the original computability researchers of the 1930’s and the most prominent and influential of all computability theorists in the 1950’s. Kleene thought and wrote with tokens. Why not call it simply.” Why do we need to give a person’s name to the Computability Thesis? Kleene never denied credit to Turing and in many places such as his books [1952] and [1967] he gives Turing credit for the most intuitive presentation of computability.3. Kleene could have called it “the Computability Thesis” analogously with “the calculus. inductive and computable. it is simply wrong to use “Church’s Thesis” to refer to a proposition first demonstrated by Turing and never successfully demonstrated by Church. and their followers. Virtually all the papers and books including Rogers [1967] and Soare [1987] and many others followed Kleene’s lead. have given credit to the others. The Royal Society was not successful in excluding Leibniz from the calculus.” We never refer to “the Newton calculus” or the “Leibniz calculus. Church. the participants. as we have seen.” The arbitrary and sometimes misleading use of words has diminished our communications among ourselves and with other scientific and scholarly colleagues.” or the “Church-Turing Thesis?” Which of the three terms is more understandable to an outsider who has never heard about the subject? 56 .the phrase “Church’s thesis” to stand for the “Computability Thesis. Turing. Second. Today we refer to “the calculus” without any founder’s name.

p. 57 . p. and one other (D) which may be included under (A). and Kleene on Relative Computability In §4 we have seen how Turing [1939.” 13. The objects considered in degrees of unsolvability. 1. analysis and other fields are incomputable not computable and relative computability unifies them.13 13. However. in computable model theory. §4] briefly introduced an oracle machine (o-machine) and how and in §5–§7 how Post developed relative computability through the influential Kleene-Post [1954] paper.” and on [1952. Kleene defined Thesis I* to be the corresponding relative computability thesis which we have called Post-Turing Thesis 6. 314] wrote. “The evidence for Thesis I will also apply to Thesis I*. geometry. p. Kleene [1952. and because it relates and unifies the myriad incomputable objects.2 Relative Computability Unifies Incomputability The field of computability theory deals mostly with incomputable not computable objects. “We now summarize the evidence for Church’s Thesis (and Thesis I*.5. 2. in differential geometry as in Csima-Soare [2006] or Soare [2004] all deal with incomputable objects. He recommended this thesis but did not give a separate justification. Most of the objects considered in computability theory and applications to algebra. A Turing a-machine can easily be simulated by a Turing o-machine and the latter is scarcely more complicated to explain. Analogous to his version of Thesis I considered above. 13. we should not call the subject “incomputability theory” because the underlying theme is the notion of relative computability as absolute because of the Oracle Graph Theorem 4. 319] he wrote. model theory. Kleene [1952. end §61) under three main headings (A)–(C).1 Turing a-machines versus o-machines? Turing.1. 314] took up the theme of relative computabilty of a function from an oracle set. Post.3 The Key Concept of the Subject The notion of an oracle machine and relative computability is the single most important in the subject.

Cooper’s new book [2004] introduces oracle Turing machines on page 139. I [1989] and Vol. A relative computability process ΦA corresponds to a continuous funce tional on Cantor space analogous to continuous functions in analysis. Classical Recursion Theory Vol.4 When to Introduce Relative Computability In view of the importance of relative computability. II [1999] introduce relative computability only on page 175 by adding the characteristic function of oracle set A to the Kleene µ-recursive functions. p. 13. This occurs on page 11 but Lerman is assuming that the reader has already mastered a first course in computability using a text such as Rogers [1967]. A function on Cantor space given by an a-machine is merely a constant function. and online computing in both theoretical results and real world computing it is surprising how many computability books introduce oracle machines and Turing functionals so late in the book or not at all. o Rogers [1967] took the Turing machine approach and immediately defined computability using regular Turing machines (a-machines). Rogers introduced relative computability only in Chapter 9 on page 128 using Turing’s original definition [1939] of an ordinary Turing machine with the additional capacity to consult an oracle A occasionally during the computation. Boolos and Jeffrey in Computability and Logic [1974] do not discuss it at all. Rogers quickly became the most readable textbook on computability and remains a popular reference. Kleene’s second and more introductory book. 4. The more recent and very extensive books by Odifreddi. Kleene’s book [1952] was the first real book on computability theory and the principal reference for at least fifteen years until Rogers [1967] appeared. For example. 267] has a brief discussion of reducing one predicate to another and on degrees of unsolvability. Many if not most computing processes in the real world are online or interactive processes. In another popular introduction. Kleene introduced relative computability in Chapter 11 on page 266 by adding the characteristic function of the oracle set A to the Herbrand-G¨del general recursive functions. better modelled by an o-machine than an a-machine. The only genuine introduction to computability I 58 . Lerman [1983] defines relative computability from an oracle by adding the characteristic function of the oracle to the Kleene µ-recursive functions.3. Computability. Cutland [1980] introduces relative computability relatively late on page 167. Mathematical Logic [1967.

but by the 1990’s it had become much more useful for communication and more accurate scientifically and historically to remove the meaning of “computable” from the term “recursive.found which introduces relative computability immediately is Martin Davis Computability and Unsolvability [1958].” “Turing’s Thesis. while Turing invented a new model. Conclusion 14. but Turing o did demonstrate his thesis in a manner convincing to essentially everyone. 14 Conclusions Conclusion 14. In the former book Soare [1987] and new book [CTA] Turing a-machines come in Chapter I and Turing o-machines at the beginning of Chapter III after which the book is based on Turing reducibility.” or the “Church-Turing Thesis. I believe that one should introduce o-machines and relative computability as soon as possible. It is most accurate and informative to refer to the central thesis of the subject as the “Computability Thesis” not “Church’s Thesis. but my students persuaded me that people need time to absorb the concepts.” It is misleading to refer to it as “Church’s Thesis” as many people do because Church never demonstrated the thesis (at least to the satisfaction of G¨del and modern scholars like Gandy [1988] and Sieg [1994]). the Turing a-machine which everyone. This emphasis on computability (rather than recursion) and its relation to incomputability has been developed in many recent books and papers such as Cooper [2004]. agreed was the most convincing of the thesis. Over the next few decades Kleene reinforced and promulgated this convention.” The subject is called “Computability Theory” not “Recursive Function Theory” or “Recursion Theory.3). I thought of moving o-machines to Chapter I and doing it all at once.” Church and Kleene [1936] introduced the term “recursive” to mean “computable” primarily for public relations reasons as Kleene [1981] explained (see §2.” particularly since Turing and G¨del had both rejected this usage.2. Church gave a formal model (the Herbrand-G¨del general recursive funco tions) which was not convincing even to its author. Nevertheless. 59 .1. We should use the term “recursive” to mean “defined inductively” not “calculable” or “computable. This change has largely o been accomplished since the papers on computability and recursion in Soare [1996] and Soare [1999]. which defines it on page 20 of Chapter 1 using oracle Turing machines. including Church and Kleene. See these papers and the discussion in §11.

Math. Amer. ta] K. The term o “Church’s thesis” was started arbitrarily by Kleene alone in [1952]. Correction 101–102. American J. 1974] G. Bull. 332-333. An unsolvable problem of elementary number theory. For pedagogical reasons with beginning students it is reasonable to first present Turing a-machines and ordinary computability. [3] [Church. An unsolvable problem of elementary number theory. Boolos and R.Neither of Turing nor G¨del thought of this as a thesis. Conclusion 14. Computability and Logic. [4] [Church. J. 42–43. [2] [Boolos and Jeffrey. References [1] [Ambos-Spies and Fejer. 1974.4. volume 9. Parallels should be drawn with offline and online computing in the real world.. Symbolic Logic 2(1) (1937). Why not replace the name in computability by a descriptive and informative term like “Computability Thesis?” See the discussion in §12. Church. to appear. 1 (1936). and has been since the 1930’s. See §13.3. Preliminary Report (abstract). J. A note on the Entscheidungsproblem. 1935] A. Fejer. of Math. 41 (1935). Conclusion 14. 60 .4. See §13 and §4–§7. The single most important concept is that of relative computability to relate incomputable objects. [6] [Church. Ambos-Spies. However.. 40–41. Degrees of unsolvability Handbook of Logic. Symbolic Logic. 58 (1936). [5] [Church. 1936b] A. Review of Turing 1936. 1936] A. Cambridge Univ. Engl. and P. 345-363. Church. Church. Jeffrey. The subject is primarily about incomputable objects not computable ones. attached. Newton or Leibniz. Cambridge. Church. 1937] A. any introductory computability book should then present as soon as possible Turing oracle machines (o-machines) and relative computability. We use the term “the calculus” without the name of either founder. Soc. Press.

B. Turing. to appear. A. and Oron Shagrir. [13] [Cooper-Lowe-Sorbi. MIT o Press. 1937b] A. L¨we.17130 [12] [Cooper-Lowe-Sorbi. Cooper and P. New York. 2007] S. (eds. Heio delberg. 2006] B. (eds. C.) Computability and Models. 43. Sorbi. Andrea Sorbi (Eds. 61 . [15] [Copeland-Posy-Shagrir. [11] [Cooper. Berlin. 2008. A. Computability: G¨del.M. Dordrecht. Siena. New computational paradigms: changing o conceptions of what is computable. pp. B. Italy. Cooper. 2008.org/server. Symbolic Logic. Fund. J.). Odifreddi. [10] [Cooper. A. Chapman & Hall/CRC Mathematics. published electronically. 1936] A. (eds. Sorbi. The incomparable Alan Turing. Cooper. Perspectives East and West. vol. J. 4497. Math. [14] [Cooper-Odifreddi. Cooper. Csima and R. Church.[7] [Church. 2004. 2003] S. 1938] A. Symbolic Logic 2(1) (1937). Proceedings of the Third Conference on Computability in Europe.B. Church and S. B. Bull. Cooper. Springer-Verlag. http://www.php?show=ConWebDoc.B. and Beyond. B. June 18–23. Church. Kluwer Academic/Plenum. o New computational paradigms: changing conceptions of what is computable. 5 June. Springer-Verlag. (2003) 137–160.S. 28 (1936) 11–21. Cooper.B.). Church. 2004] S.). Lecture Notes in Computer Science.B. No. 71 (2006). Cooper and S. 2008] S. Review of Post 1936. L¨we.I. Lecture at Manchester University. London. Goncharov (Eds.B. 1394–1410. (Springer-Verlag. Computablility Theory. Kleene. o Computation and Logic in the Real World. S. 2007.S. 2004b] S. L¨we. 224–232. Incomputability in nature. Soare. 44 (1938).bcs. F.). A. CiE 2007. [9] [Church and Kleene. [16] [Csima-Soare. Formal definitions in the theory of ordinal numbers. Sorbi. ta] Jack Copeland. 2004. In: S. Computability Results Used in Differential Geometry. L¨we.B. [8] [Church. Carl Posy. 2007.B. The constructive second number class.

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