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Computability and recursion
 BULL. SYMBOLIC LOGIC
, 1996
"... We consider the informal concept of “computability” or “effective calculability” and two of the formalisms commonly used to define it, “(Turing) computability” and “(general) recursiveness.” We consider their origin, exact technical definition, concepts, history, general English meanings, how they b ..."
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We consider the informal concept of “computability” or “effective calculability” and two of the formalisms commonly used to define it, “(Turing) computability” and “(general) recursiveness.” We consider their origin, exact technical definition, concepts, history, general English meanings, how they became fixed in their present roles, how they were first and are now used, their impact on nonspecialists, how their use will affect the future content of the subject of computability theory, and its connection to other related areas. After a careful historical and conceptual analysis of computability and recursion we make several recommendations in section §7 about preserving the intensional differences between the concepts of “computability” and “recursion.” Specifically we recommend that: the term “recursive ” should no longer carry the additional meaning of “computable” or “decidable;” functions defined using Turing machines, register machines, or their variants should be called “computable” rather than “recursive;” we should distinguish the intensional difference between Church’s Thesis and Turing’s Thesis, and use the latter particularly in dealing with mechanistic questions; the name of the subject should be “Computability Theory” or simply Computability rather than
Computing technology for learning in need of a radical new conception
"... Many have had high expectations for the impact of computerbased technology on educational practice. By and large, these expectations have not been realised. It has become evident that innovative technology alone does not necessarily guarantee progress nor perhaps even significant change in educat ..."
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Many have had high expectations for the impact of computerbased technology on educational practice. By and large, these expectations have not been realised. It has become evident that innovative technology alone does not necessarily guarantee progress nor perhaps even significant change in educational practice. This has led educational researchers to place greater emphasis on cultural issues that could account for the unexpectedly limited influence of technologyenhanced learning. This perception of the relationship between technology and learning is elaborated in the first section of the paper. It is complemented by a review of an alternative conception of computing, rooted in a methodology for modelling with dependency directed at the development of construals rather than programs, that is far better aligned to the demands of developing environments for learning. The paper concludes with a discussion of the potential implications of this approach.
Church’s Thesis and the Conceptual Analysis of Computability
 Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic
, 2007
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Commutation Problems on Sets of Words and Formal Power Series
, 2002
"... We study in this thesis several problems related to commutation on sets of words and on formal power series. We investigate the notion of semilinearity for formal power series in commuting variables, introducing two families of series  the semilinear and the bounded series  both natural generaliza ..."
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Cited by 5 (3 self)
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We study in this thesis several problems related to commutation on sets of words and on formal power series. We investigate the notion of semilinearity for formal power series in commuting variables, introducing two families of series  the semilinear and the bounded series  both natural generalizations of the semilinear languages, and we study their behaviour under rational operations, morphisms, Hadamard product, and difference. Turning to commutation on sets of words, we then study the notions of centralizer of a language  the largest set commuting with a language , of root and of primitive root of a set of words. We answer a question raised by Conway more than thirty years ago  asking whether or not the centralizer of any rational language is rational  in the case of periodic, binary, and ternary sets of words, as well as for rational ccodes, the most general results on this problem. We also prove that any code has a unique primitive root and that two codes commute if and only if they have the same primitive root, thus solving two conjectures of Ratoandromanana, 1989. Moreover, we prove that the commutation with an ccode X can be characterized similarly as in free monoids: a language commutes with X if and only if it is a union of powers of the primitive root of X.
The growth of mathematical knowledge: an open world view
 The growth of mathematical knowledge, Kluwer, Dordrecht 2000
"... mathematical knowledge: “The advance of science is not comparable to the changes of a city, where old edifices are pitilessly torn down to give place to new ones, but to the continuous evolution of zoological types which develop ceaselessly and end by becoming unrecognizable to the common sight, but ..."
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mathematical knowledge: “The advance of science is not comparable to the changes of a city, where old edifices are pitilessly torn down to give place to new ones, but to the continuous evolution of zoological types which develop ceaselessly and end by becoming unrecognizable to the common sight, but where an expert eye finds always traces of the prior work of the centuries past ” (Poincaré 1958, p. 14). The view criticized by Poincaré corresponds to Frege’s idea that the development of mathematics can be described as an activity of system building, where each system is supposed to provide a complete representation for a certain mathematical field and must be pitilessly torn down whenever it fails to achieve such an aim. All facts concerning any mathematical field must be fully organized in a given system because “in mathematics we must always strive after a system that is complete in itself ” (Frege 1979, p. 279). Frege is aware that systems introduce rigidity and are in conflict with the actual development of mathematics because “in history we have development; a system is static”, but he sticks
Turing Oracle Machines, Online Computing, and Three Displacements in Computability Theory
, 2009
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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.
The Generic Model of Computation
"... Over the past two decades, Yuri Gurevich and his colleagues have formulated axiomatic foundations for the notion of algorithm, be it classical, interactive, or parallel, and formalized them in the new generic framework of abstract state machines. This approach has recently been extended to suggest a ..."
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Over the past two decades, Yuri Gurevich and his colleagues have formulated axiomatic foundations for the notion of algorithm, be it classical, interactive, or parallel, and formalized them in the new generic framework of abstract state machines. This approach has recently been extended to suggest a formalization of the notion of effective computation over arbitrary countable domains. The central notions are summarized herein. 1
A natural axiomatization of Church’s thesis
, 2007
"... The Abstract State Machine Thesis asserts that every classical algorithm is behaviorally equivalent to an abstract state machine. This thesis has been shown to follow from three natural postulates about algorithmic computation. Here, we prove that augmenting those postulates with an additional requ ..."
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The Abstract State Machine Thesis asserts that every classical algorithm is behaviorally equivalent to an abstract state machine. This thesis has been shown to follow from three natural postulates about algorithmic computation. Here, we prove that augmenting those postulates with an additional requirement regarding basic operations implies Church’s Thesis, namely, that the only numeric functions that can be calculated by effective means are the recursive ones (which are the same, extensionally, as the Turingcomputable numeric functions). In particular, this gives a natural axiomatization of Church’s Thesis, as Gödel and others suggested may be possible.
The Incomputable Alan Turing
 In the Proceedings of
"... The last century saw dramatic challenges to the Laplacian predictability which had underpinned scientific research for around 300 years. Basic to this was Alan Turing’s 1936 discovery (along with Alonzo Church) of the existence of unsolvable problems. This paper focuses on incomputability as a power ..."
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The last century saw dramatic challenges to the Laplacian predictability which had underpinned scientific research for around 300 years. Basic to this was Alan Turing’s 1936 discovery (along with Alonzo Church) of the existence of unsolvable problems. This paper focuses on incomputability as a powerful theme in Turing’s work and personal life, and examines its role in his evolving concept of machine intelligence. It also traces some of the ways in which important new developments are anticipated by Turing’s ideas in logic. This paper is based on the talk given on 5th June 2004 at the conference at Manchester University marking the 50th anniversary of Alan Turing’s death. It is published by the British Computer Society on