Machines were introduced as calculating devices to simulate operations carried out by human computors following fixed algorithms: this is true for the early mechanical calculators devised by Pascal and Leibniz, for the analytical engine built by Babbage, and the theoretical machines introduced by Turing. The distinguishing feature of the latter is their universality: They are claimed to be able to capture any algorithm whatsoever and, conversely, any procedure they can carry out is evidently algorithmic. The study of such "paper machines" (...) by mathematical means is the topic of our contribution. This is not only in accord with its usual understanding in computer science, but conceptually and historically right, when we recall the purpose for which Turing machines were introduced. (shrink)
Ã¢â¬â via appropriate substitutions Ã¢â¬â syntactically identical. The method can be applied directly to quantifierfree formulae and, in this paper, will b e extended in a natural and strai ghlforward way to quantified formulae.
Any thorough discussion of computing machines requires the examination of rigorous concepts of computation and is facilitated by the distinction between mathematical, symbolic and physical computations. The delicate connection between the three kinds of computations and the underlying questions, "What are machines?" and "When are they computing?", motivate an extensive theoretical and historical discussion. The relevant outcome of this..
The identification of an informal concept of ‘effective calculability’ with a rigorous mathematical notion like ‘recursiveness’ or ‘Turing computability’ is still viewed as problematic, and I think rightly so. I analyze three different and conflicting perspectives Gödel articulated in the three decades from 1934 to 1964. The significant shifts in Gödel's position underline the difficulties of the methodological issues surrounding the Church-Turing Thesis.
Church's and Turing's theses dogmatically assert that an informal notion of effective calculability is adequately captured by a particular mathematical concept of computability. I present an analysis of calculability that is embedded in a rich historical and philosophical context, leads to precise concepts, but dispenses with theses.To investigate effective calculability is to analyze symbolic processes that can in principle be carried out by calculators. This is a philosophical lesson we owe to Turing. Drawing on that lesson and recasting work of (...) Gandy, I formulate boundedness and locality conditions for two types of calculators, namely, human computing agents and mechanical computing devices (discrete machines). The distinctive feature of the latter is that they can carry out parallel computations. The analysis leads to axioms for discrete dynamical systems (representing human and machine computations) and allows the reduction of models of these axioms to Turing machines. Cellular automata and a variety of artificial neural nets can be shown to satisfy the axioms for machine computations. (shrink)
Two young logicians, whose work had a dramatic impact on the direction of logic, exchanged two letters in early 1931. Jacques Herbrand initiated the correspondence on 7 April and Kurt Gödel responded on 25 July, just two days before Herbrand died in a mountaineering accident at La Bérarde (Isère). Herbrand's letter played a significant role in the development of computability theory. Gödel asserted in his 1934 Princeton Lectures and on later occasions that it suggested to him a crucial part of (...) the definition of a general recursive function. Understanding this role in detail is of great interest as the notion is absolutely central. The full text of the letter had not been available until recently, and its content (as reported by Gödel) was not in accord with Herbrand's contemporaneous published work. Together, the letters reflect broader intellectual currents of the time: they are intimately linked to the discussion of the incompleteness theorems and their potential impact on Hilbert's Program. (shrink)
Hilbert's finitist program was not created at the beginning of the twenties solely to counteract Brouwer's intuitionism, but rather emerged out of broad philosophical reflections on the foundations of mathematics and out of detailed logical work; that is evident from notes of lecture courses that were given by Hilbert and prepared in collaboration with Bernays during the period from 1917 to 1922. These notes reveal a dialectic progression from a critical logicism through a radical constructivism toward finitism; the progression has (...) to be seen against the background of the stunning presentation of mathematical logic in the lectures given during the winter term 1917/18. In this paper, I sketch the connection of Hilbert's considerations to issues in the foundations of mathematics during the second half of the 19th century, describe the work that laid the basis of modern mathematical logic, and analyze the first steps in the new subject of proof theory. A revision of the standard view of Hilbert's and Bernays's contributions to the foundational discussion in our century has long been overdue. It is almost scandalous that their carefully worked out notes have not been used yet to understand more accurately the evolution of modern logic in general and of Hilbert's Program in particular. One conclusion will be obvious: the dogmatic formalist Hilbert is a figment of historical (de)construction! Indeed, the study and analysis of these lectures reveal a depth of mathematical-logical achievement and of philosophical reflection that is remarkable. In the course of my presentation many questions are raised and many more can be explored; thus, I hope this paper will stimulate interest for new historical and systematic work. (shrink)
Natural deduction (for short: nd-) calculi have not been used systematically as a basis for automated theorem proving in classical logic. To remove objective obstacles to their use we describe (1) a method that allows to give semantic proofs of normal form theorems for nd-calculi and (2) a framework that allows to search directly for normal nd-proofs. Thus, one can try to answer the question: How do we bridge the gap between claims and assumptions in heuristically motivated ways? This informal (...) question motivates the formulation of intercalation calculi. Ic-calculi are the technical underpinnings for (1) and (2), and our paper focuses on their detailed presentation and meta-mathematical investigation in the case of classical predicate logic. As a central theme emerges the connection between restricted forms of nd-proofs and (strategies for) proof search: normal forms are not obtained by removing local "detours", but rather by constructing proofs that directly reflect proof-strategic considerations. That theme warrants further investigation. (shrink)
Alonzo Church's mathematical work on computability and undecidability is well-known indeed, and we seem to have an excellent understanding of the context in which it arose. The approach Church took to the underlying conceptual issues, by contrast, is less well understood. Why, for example, was "Church's Thesis" put forward publicly only in April 1935, when it had been formulated already in February/March 1934? Why did Church choose to formulate it then in terms of Gödel's general recursiveness, not his own λ (...) -definability as he had done in 1934? A number of letters were exchanged between Church and Paul Bernays during the period from December 1934 to August 1937; they throw light on critical developments in Princeton during that period and reveal novel aspects of Church's distinctive contribution to the analysis of the informal notion of effective calculability. In particular, they allow me to give informed, though still tentative answers to the questions I raised; the character of my answers is reflected by an alternative title for this paper, Why Church needed Gödel's recursiveness for his Thesis. In Section 5, I contrast Church's analysis with that of Alan Turing and explore, in the very last section, an analogy with Dedekind's investigation of continuity. (shrink)