Gregory Chaitin

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Greg Chaitin
Born 1947 (1947)
Residence USA
Nationality American
Ethnicity Argentinian-American
Fields Mathematician
Institutions IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center
Known for Chaitin-Kolmogorov complexity
Chaitin's constant
Chaitin's algorithm

Gregory John Chaitin (born 1947) is an Argentine-American mathematician and computer scientist.

Beginning in the late 1960s, Chaitin made contributions to algorithmic information theory and metamathematics, in particular a new incompleteness theorem in reaction to Gödel's incompleteness theorem. He attended the Bronx High School of Science and City College of New York, where he (still in his teens) developed the theories that led to his independent discovery of Kolmogorov complexity. [1]

Chaitin has defined Chaitin's constant Ω, a real number whose digits are equidistributed and which is sometimes informally described as an expression of the probability that a random program will halt. Ω has the mathematical property that it is definable but not computable.

Chaitin's early work on algorithmic information theory paralleled the earlier work of Kolmogorov.

Chaitin also writes about philosophy, especially metaphysics and philosophy of mathematics (particularly about epistemological matters in mathematics). In metaphysics, Chaitin claims that algorithmic information theory is the key to solving problems in the field of biology (obtaining a formal definition of ‘life’, its origin and evolution) and neuroscience (the problem of consciousness and the study of the mind). Indeed, in recent writings, he defends a position known as digital philosophy. In the epistemology of mathematics, he claims that his findings in mathematical logic and algorithmic information theory show there are “mathematical facts that are true for no reason, they're true by accident. They are random mathematical facts”. Chaitin proposes that mathematicians must abandon any hope of proving those mathematical facts and adopt a quasi-empirical methodology.

Chaitin is also the originator of using graph coloring to do register allocation in compiling, a process known as Chaitin's algorithm.

In 1995 he was given the degree of doctor of science honoris causa by the University of Maine. In 2002 he was given the title of honorary professor by the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina, where his parents were born and where Chaitin spent part of his youth. He is a research staff member at IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center and also a visiting professor at the Computer Science Department of the University of Auckland, and on the international committee of the Valparaíso Complex Systems Institute.


[edit] Criticism

Some philosophers and logicians strongly disagree with the philosophical conclusions that Chaitin has drawn from his theorems. [2] The logician Torkel Franzén [3] criticizes Chaitin’s interpretation of Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem and the alleged explanation for it that Chaitin’s work represents.

[edit] See also

[edit] Bibliography

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Li and Vitanyi, An Introduction to Kolmogorov Complexity and Its Applications, page 86: G.J.Chaitin had finished the Bronx High School of Science , and was an 18-year-old undergraduate student at City College of the City University of New York, when he submitted two papers [...] In his [second] paper, Chaitin puts forward the notion of Kolmogorov complexity [...]"
  2. ^ Panu Raatikainen "Exploring Randomness and The Unknowable" Notices of the American Mathematical Society Book Review October 2001
  3. ^ Torkel Franzén Gödel's Theorem: An Incomplete Guide to its Use and Abuse. Wellesley, Massachusetts: A K Peters, Ltd., 2005. x + 172 pp. ISBN 1-56881-238-8.

[edit] References

  • Ugo Pagallo, Introduzione alla filosofia digitale. Da Leibniz a Chaitin, ([1], 2005)ISBN 88-348-5635-X
  • Cristian S. Calude (ed.), Randomness and Complexity. From Leibniz to Chaitin, (World Scientific, 2007)ISBN 13 978-981-277-082-0

[edit] External links

NAME Chaitin, Gregory
SHORT DESCRIPTION Argentinian mathematician and computer scientist
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