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Set Theory and Physics
 FOUNDATIONS OF PHYSICS, VOL. 25, NO. 11
, 1995
"... Inasmuch as physical theories are formalizable, set theory provides a framework for theoretical physics. Four speculations about the relevance of set theoretical modeling for physics are presented: the role of transcendental set theory (i) hr chaos theory, (ii) for paradoxical decompositions of soli ..."
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Inasmuch as physical theories are formalizable, set theory provides a framework for theoretical physics. Four speculations about the relevance of set theoretical modeling for physics are presented: the role of transcendental set theory (i) hr chaos theory, (ii) for paradoxical decompositions of solid threedimensional objects, (iii) in the theory of effective computability (ChurchTurhrg thesis) related to the possible "solution of supertasks," and (iv) for weak solutions. Several approaches to set theory and their advantages and disadvatages for" physical applications are discussed: Cantorian "naive" (i.e., nonaxiomatic) set theory, contructivism, and operationalism, hr the arrthor's ophrion, an attitude of "suspended attention" (a term borrowed from psychoanalysis) seems most promising for progress. Physical and set theoretical entities must be operationalized wherever possible. At the same thne, physicists shouM be open to "bizarre" or "mindboggling" new formalisms, which treed not be operationalizable or testable at the thne of their " creation, but which may successfully lead to novel fields of phenomenology and technology.
Fast Quantum Algorithms for Handling Probabilistic and Interval Uncertainty
, 2003
"... this paper, we show how the use of quantum computing can speed up some computations related to interval and probabilistic uncertainty. We end the paper with speculations on whether (and how) "hypothetic" physical devices can compute NPhard problems faster than in exponential time ..."
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this paper, we show how the use of quantum computing can speed up some computations related to interval and probabilistic uncertainty. We end the paper with speculations on whether (and how) "hypothetic" physical devices can compute NPhard problems faster than in exponential time
Quantum SpeedUp of Computations
 Philosophy of Science
, 2002
"... ChurchTuring Thesis as saying something about the scope and limitations of physical computing machines. Although this was not the intention of Church or Turing, the Physical Church Turing thesis is interesting in its own right. Consider, for example, Wolfram’s formulation: One can expect in fact th ..."
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ChurchTuring Thesis as saying something about the scope and limitations of physical computing machines. Although this was not the intention of Church or Turing, the Physical Church Turing thesis is interesting in its own right. Consider, for example, Wolfram’s formulation: One can expect in fact that universal computers are as powerful in their computational capabilities as any physically realizable system can be, that they can simulate any physical system...Nophysically implementable procedure could then shortcut a computationally irreducible process. (Wolfram 1985) Wolfram’s thesis consists of two parts: (a) Any physical system can be simulated (to any degree of approximation) by a universal Turing machine (b) Complexity bounds on Turing machine simulations have physical significance. For example, suppose that the computation of the minimum energy of some system of n particles takes at least exponentially (in n) many steps. Then the relaxation time of the actual physical system to its minimum energy state will also take exponential time. An even more extreme formulation of (more or less) the same thesis is due to Aharonov (1998): A probabilistic Turing machine can simulate any reasonable physical device in polynomial cost. She calls this The Modern Church Thesis. Aharonov refers here to probabilistic Turing machines that use random numbers in addition to the usual deterministic table of steps. It seems that such machines are capable to perform certain tasks faster than fully deterministic machines. The most famous randomized algorithm of that kind concerns the decision whether a given natural number is prime. A probabilistic algorithm that decides primality in a number of
2002]: „On Effective procedures
 Minds and Machines
"... Abstract. Since the midtwentieth century, the concept of the Turing machine has dominated thought about effective procedures. This paper presents an alternative to Turing’s analysis; it unifies, refines, and extends my earlier work on this topic. I show that Turing machines cannot live up to their ..."
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Abstract. Since the midtwentieth century, the concept of the Turing machine has dominated thought about effective procedures. This paper presents an alternative to Turing’s analysis; it unifies, refines, and extends my earlier work on this topic. I show that Turing machines cannot live up to their billing as paragons of effective procedure; at best, they may be said to provide us with mere procedure schemas. I argue that the concept of an effective procedure crucially depends upon distinguishing procedures as definite courses of action( types) from the particular courses of action(tokens) that actually instantiate them and the causal processes and/or interpretations that ultimately make them effective. On my analysis, effectiveness is not just a matter of logical form; ‘content ’ matters. The analysis I provide has the advantage of applying to ordinary, everyday procedures such as recipes and methods, as well as the more refined procedures of mathematics and computer science. It also has the virtue of making better sense of the physical possibilities for hypercomputation than the received view and its extensions, e.g. Turing’s omachines, accelerating machines. Key words: causal process, effective procedure, hypercomputation, precisely described instruction, procedure schema, quotidian procedure, Turing machine 1.
The history and concept of computability
 in Handbook of Computability Theory
, 1999
"... We consider the informal concept of a “computable ” or “effectively calculable” function on natural numbers and two of the formalisms used to define it, computability” and “(general) recursiveness. ” We consider their origin, exact technical definition, concepts, history, how they became fixed in th ..."
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We consider the informal concept of a “computable ” or “effectively calculable” function on natural numbers and two of the formalisms used to define it, computability” and “(general) recursiveness. ” We consider their origin, exact technical definition, concepts, history, how they became fixed in their present roles, and how
Gödel on computability
"... Around 1950, both Gödel and Turing wrote papers for broader audiences. 1 Gödel drew in his 1951 dramatic philosophical conclusions from the general formulation of his second incompleteness theorem. These conclusions concerned the nature of mathematics and the human mind. The general formulation of t ..."
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Around 1950, both Gödel and Turing wrote papers for broader audiences. 1 Gödel drew in his 1951 dramatic philosophical conclusions from the general formulation of his second incompleteness theorem. These conclusions concerned the nature of mathematics and the human mind. The general formulation of the second theorem was explicitly based on Turing’s 1936 reduction of finite procedures to machine computations. Turing gave in his 1954 an understated analysis of finite procedures in terms of Post production systems. This analysis, prima facie quite different from that given in 1936, served as the basis for an exposition of various unsolvable problems. Turing had addressed issues of mentality and intelligence in contemporaneous essays, the best known of which is of course Computing machinery and intelligence. Gödel’s and Turing’s considerations from this period intersect through their attempt, on the one hand, to analyze finite, mechanical procedures and, on the other hand, to approach mental phenomena in a scientific way. Neuroscience or brain science was an important component of the latter for both: Gödel’s remarks in the Gibbs Lecture as well as in his later conversations with Wang and Turing’s Intelligent Machinery can serve as clear evidence for that. 2 Both men were convinced that some mental processes are not mechanical, in the sense that Turing machines cannot mimic them. For Gödel, such processes were to be found in mathematical experience and he was led to the conclusion that mind is separate from matter. Turing simply noted that for a machine or a brain it is not enough to be converted into a universal (Turing) machine in order to become intelligent: “discipline”, the characteristic
The concept of computability
, 2004
"... I explore the conceptual foundations of Alan Turing’s analysis of computability, which still dominates thinking about computability today. I argue that Turing’s account represents a last vestige of a famous but unsuccessful program in pure mathematics, viz., Hilbert’s formalist program. It is my con ..."
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I explore the conceptual foundations of Alan Turing’s analysis of computability, which still dominates thinking about computability today. I argue that Turing’s account represents a last vestige of a famous but unsuccessful program in pure mathematics, viz., Hilbert’s formalist program. It is my contention that the plausibility of Turing’s account as an analysis of the computational capacities of physical machines rests upon a number of highly problematic assumptions whose plausibility in turn is grounded in the formalist stance towards mathematics. More specifically, the Turing account con ates concepts that are crucial for understanding the computational capacities of physical machines. These concepts include the idea of an “operation” or “action” that is “formal,” “mechanical,” “welldefined, ” and “precisely described,” and the idea of a “symbol” that is “formal,” “uninterpreted,” and “shaped”. When these concepts are disentangled, the intuitive appeal of Turing’s account is significantly undermined. This opens the way for exploring models of hypercomputability that are fundamentally different from those currently entertained in the literature.
Alan Turing and the Mathematical Objection
 Minds and Machines 13(1
, 2003
"... Abstract. This paper concerns Alan Turing’s ideas about machines, mathematical methods of proof, and intelligence. By the late 1930s, Kurt Gödel and other logicians, including Turing himself, had shown that no finite set of rules could be used to generate all true mathematical statements. Yet accord ..."
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Abstract. This paper concerns Alan Turing’s ideas about machines, mathematical methods of proof, and intelligence. By the late 1930s, Kurt Gödel and other logicians, including Turing himself, had shown that no finite set of rules could be used to generate all true mathematical statements. Yet according to Turing, there was no upper bound to the number of mathematical truths provable by intelligent human beings, for they could invent new rules and methods of proof. So, the output of a human mathematician, for Turing, was not a computable sequence (i.e., one that could be generated by a Turing machine). Since computers only contained a finite number of instructions (or programs), one might argue, they could not reproduce human intelligence. Turing called this the “mathematical objection ” to his view that machines can think. Logicomathematical reasons, stemming from his own work, helped to convince Turing that it should be possible to reproduce human intelligence, and eventually compete with it, by developing the appropriate kind of digital computer. He felt it should be possible to program a computer so that it could learn or discover new rules, overcoming the limitations imposed by the incompleteness and undecidability results in the same way that human mathematicians presumably do. Key words: artificial intelligence, ChurchTuring thesis, computability, effective procedure, incompleteness, machine, mathematical objection, ordinal logics, Turing, undecidability The ‘skin of an onion ’ analogy is also helpful. In considering the functions of the mind or the brain we find certain operations which we can express in purely mechanical terms. This we say does not correspond to the real mind: it is a sort of skin which we must strip off if we are to find the real mind. But then in what remains, we find a further skin to be stripped off, and so on. Proceeding in this way, do we ever come to the ‘real ’ mind, or do we eventually come to the skin which has nothing in it? In the latter case, the whole mind is mechanical (Turing, 1950, p. 454–455). 1.
Computability and Incomputability
"... The conventional wisdom presented in most computability books and historical papers is that there were several researchers in the early 1930’s working on various precise definitions and demonstrations of a function specified by a finite procedure and that they should all share approximately equal cr ..."
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The conventional wisdom presented in most computability books and historical papers is that there were several researchers in the early 1930’s working on various precise definitions and demonstrations of a function specified by a finite procedure and that they should all share approximately equal credit. This is incorrect. It was Turing alone who achieved the characterization, in the opinion of Gödel. We also explore Turing’s oracle machine and its analogous properties in analysis. Keywords: Turing amachine, computability, ChurchTuring Thesis, Kurt Gödel, Alan Turing, Turing omachine, computable approximations,
Strong Determinism vs. Computability
 The Foundational Debate, Complexity and Constructivity in Mathematics and
, 1995
"... Are minds subject to laws of physics? Are the laws of physics computable? Are conscious thought processes computable? Currently there is little agreement as to what are the right answers to these questions. Penrose ([41], p. 644) goes one step further and asserts that: a radical new theory is indeed ..."
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Are minds subject to laws of physics? Are the laws of physics computable? Are conscious thought processes computable? Currently there is little agreement as to what are the right answers to these questions. Penrose ([41], p. 644) goes one step further and asserts that: a radical new theory is indeed needed, and I am suggesting, moreover, that this theory, when it is found, will be of an essentially noncomputational character. The aim of this paper is three fold: 1) to examine the incompatibility between the hypothesis of strong determinism and computability, 2) to give new examples of uncomputable physical laws, and 3) to discuss the relevance of Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem in refuting the claim that an algorithmic theory—like strong AI—can provide an adequate theory of mind. Finally, we question the adequacy of the theory of computation to discuss physical laws and thought processes. 1