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In The Unknowable I use LISP to compare my work on incompleteness with that of G6del and Turing, and in The Limits of Mathematics I use LISP to discuss my work on incompleteness in more detail. In this book we'll use LISP to explore my theory of randomness, called algorithmic information theory (AIT). And when I say "explore" I mean it! This book is full of exercises for the reader, ranging from the mathematical equivalent oftrivial "fin ger warm-ups" for pianists, to substantial programming projects, to questions I can formulate precisely but don't know how to answer, to questions that I don't even know how to formulate precisely! I really want you to follow my example and hike offinto the wilder ness and explore AIT on your own! You can stay on the trails that I've blazed and explore the well-known part of AIT, or you can go off on your own and become a fellow researcher, a colleague of mine! One way or another, the goal of this book is to make you into a participant, not a passive observer of AlT. In other words, it's too easy to just listen to a recording of AIT, that's not the way to learn music.
I Introduction.- Historical introduction—A century of controversy over the foundations of mathematics.- What is LISP? Why do I like it?.- How to program my universal Turing machine in LISP.- II Program Size.- A self-delimiting Turing machine considered as a set of (program, output) pairs.- How to construct self-delimiting Turing machines: the Kraft inequality.- The connection between program-size complexity and algorithmic probability: H(x) = ? log2P(x) +O(1). Occam’s razor: there are few minimum-size programs.- The basic result on relative complexity: H(y?x) = H(x,y)-H(x)+O(1).- III Randomness.- Theoretical interlude—What is randomness? My definitions.- Proof that Martin-Löf randomness is equivalent to Chaitin randomness.- Proof that Solovay randomness is equivalent to Martin-Löf randomness.- Proof that Solovay randomness is equivalent to strong Chaitin randomness.- IV Future Work.- Extending AIT to the size of programs for computing infinite sets and to computations with oracles.- Postscript—Letter to a daring young reader.