## On Founding the Theory of Algorithms (1998)

### BibTeX

@MISC{My98onfounding,

author = {Yiannis Moschovakis My and Yiannis N. Moschovakis and Let L},

title = {On Founding the Theory of Algorithms},

year = {1998}

}

### OpenURL

### Abstract

machines and implementations The first definition of an abstract machine was given by Turing, in the classic [20]. Without repeating here the well-known definition (e.g., see [6]), we recall that each Turing machine M is equipped with a "semi-infinite tape" which it uses both to compute and also to communicate with its environment: To determine the value f(n) (if any) of the partial function f : N * N computed by M , we put n on the tape in some standard way, e.g., by placing n + 1 consecutive 1s at its beginning; we start the machine in some specified, initial, internal state q 0 and looking at the leftmost end of the tape; and we wait until the machine stops (if it does), at which time the value f(n) can be read off the tape, by counting the successive 1s at the left end. Turing argued that the number-theoretic functions which can (in principle) be computed by any deterministic, physical device are exactly those which can be computed by a Turing machine, and the corresponding version of this claim for partial functions has come to be known as the ChurchTuring Thesis, because an equivalent claim was made by Church at about the same time. Turing's brilliant analysis of "mechanical computation" in [20] and a huge body of work in the last sixty years has established the truth of the Church-Turing Thesis beyond reasonable doubt; it is of immense importance in the derivation of foundationally significant undecidability results from technical theorems about Turing machines, and it has been called "the first natural law of pure mathematics." Turing machines capture the notion of mechanical computability of numbertheoretic functions, by the Church-Turing Thesis, but they do not model faith- It has also been suggested that we do not need algorithms, only the equival...