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Randomness and Computability

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posted on 2021-11-10, 22:20 authored by Day, Adam Richard

This thesis establishes significant new results in the area of algorithmic randomness. These results elucidate the deep relationship between randomness and computability. A number of results focus on randomness for finite strings. Levin introduced two functions which measure the randomness of finite strings. One function is derived from a universal monotone machine and the other function is derived from an optimal computably enumerable semimeasure. Gacs proved that infinitely often, the gap between these two functions exceeds the inverse Ackermann function (applied to string length). This thesis improves this result to show that infinitely often the difference between these two functions exceeds the double logarithm. Another separation result is proved for two different kinds of process machine. Information about the randomness of finite strings can be used as a computational resource. This information is contained in the overgraph. Muchnik and Positselsky asked whether there exists an optimal monotone machine whose overgraph is not truth-table complete. This question is answered in the negative. Related results are also established. This thesis makes advances in the theory of randomness for infinite binary sequences. A variant of process machines is used to characterise computable randomness, Schnorr randomness and weak randomness. This result is extended to give characterisations of these types of randomness using truthtable reducibility. The computable Lipschitz reducibility measures both the relative randomness and the relative computational power of real numbers. It is proved that the computable Lipschitz degrees of computably enumerable sets are not dense. Infinite binary sequences can be regarded as elements of Cantor space. Most research in randomness for Cantor space has been conducted using the uniform measure. However, the study of non-computable measures has led to interesting results. This thesis shows that the two approaches that have been used to define randomness on Cantor space for non-computable measures: that of Reimann and Slaman, along with the uniform test approach first introduced by Levin and also used by Gacs, Hoyrup and Rojas, are equivalent. Levin established the existence of probability measures for which all infinite sequences are random. These measures are termed neutral measures. It is shown that every PA degree computes a neutral measure. Work of Miller is used to show that the set of atoms of a neutral measure is a countable Scott set and in fact any countable Scott set is the set of atoms of some neutral measure. Neutral measures are used to prove new results in computability theory. For example, it is shown that the low computable enumerable sets are precisely the computably enumerable sets bounded by PA degrees strictly below the halting problem. This thesis applies ideas developed in the study of randomness to computability theory by examining indifferent sets for comeager classes in Cantor space. A number of results are proved. For example, it is shown that there exist 1-generic sets that can compute their own indifferent sets.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Mathematics, Statistics and Operations Research


Downey, Rod