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Hypercomputation: computing more than the Turing machine
, 2002
"... In this report I provide an introduction to the burgeoning field of hypercomputation – the study of machines that can compute more than Turing machines. I take an extensive survey of many of the key concepts in the field, tying together the disparate ideas and presenting them in a structure which al ..."
Abstract

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In this report I provide an introduction to the burgeoning field of hypercomputation – the study of machines that can compute more than Turing machines. I take an extensive survey of many of the key concepts in the field, tying together the disparate ideas and presenting them in a structure which allows comparisons of the many approaches and results. To this I add several new results and draw out some interesting consequences of hypercomputation for several different disciplines. I begin with a succinct introduction to the classical theory of computation and its place amongst some of the negative results of the 20 th Century. I then explain how the ChurchTuring Thesis is commonly misunderstood and present new theses which better describe the possible limits on computability. Following this, I introduce ten different hypermachines (including three of my own) and discuss in some depth the manners in which they attain their power and the physical plausibility of each method. I then compare the powers of the different models using a device from recursion theory. Finally, I examine the implications of hypercomputation to mathematics, physics, computer science and philosophy. Perhaps the most important of these implications is that the negative mathematical results of Gödel, Turing and Chaitin are each dependent upon the nature of physics. This both weakens these results and provides strong links between mathematics and physics. I conclude that hypercomputation is of serious academic interest within many disciplines, opening new possibilities that were previously ignored because of long held misconceptions about the limits of computation.