Chicago Journal of Theoretical Computer Science

CJTCS Special Issue: CATS 2009

Selected papers from

2009 Computing: The Australasian Theory Symposium

held in Wellington, New Zealand January 20-23 2009.

Guest Editors: Rod Downey, Victoria University of Wellington, NZ

Prabhu Manyem, Shanghai University, PRC.

Article 2010-4

Published by the Department of Computer Science, The University of Chicago.

On Process Complexity

Adam R. Day
School of Mathematics, Statistics and Operations Research
Victoria University of Wellington
PO Box 600, Wellington 6140
New Zealand

June 22, 2010

Process complexity is one of the basic variants of Kolmogorov complexity. Unlike plain Kolmogorov complexity, process complexity provides a simple characterization of randomness for real numbers in terms of initial segment complexity. Process complexity was first developed in [11]. Schnorr's definition of a process, while simple, can be difficult to work with. In many situations, a preferable definition of a process is that given in [9]. In this paper we define a variant of process complexity based on Levin and Zvonkin's definition of a process. We call this variant strict process complexity. Strict process complexity retains the main desirable properties of process complexity. In particularl, it provides simple characterizations of Martin-Löf random real numbers, and of computable real numbers. However, we will prove that strict process complexity does not agree within an additive constant with Schnorr's original process complexity.

One of the basic properties of prefix-free complexity is that it is subadditive. Subadditive means that there is some constant d such that for all strings sigma, tau the complexity of sigma tau (the concatenation of the two strings) is less than or equal to the sum of the complexities of sigma and tau plus d. A fundamental question about any complexity measure is whether or not it is subadditive. In this paper we resolve this question for process complexity by proving that neither of these process complexities is subadditive.

DOI: 10.4086/cjtcs.2010.004

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