BIT Numerical Mathematics

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 107–119 | Cite as

The Ackermann function. a theoretical, computational, and formula manipulative study

  • Yngve Sundblad


Ackermann's function is of highly recursive nature and of two arguments. It is here treated as a class of functions of one argument, where the other argument defines the member of the class. The first members are expressed with elementary functions, the higher members with a hierarchy of primitive recursive functions. The number of calls of the function needed in a straightforward recursive computation is given for the first members. The maximum depth in the recursion during the evaluation is investigated.

Results from tests with the Ackermann function of recursive procedure implementations in ALGOL-60, ALGOL W, PL/I and SIMULA-67 on IBM 360/75 and CD 6600 are given.

A SYMBAL formula manipulating program, that automatically solves recurrence relations for the first members of the function class and for the number of calls needed in their straightforward computation, is given.

The Ackermann rating of programming languages is discussed.


Recursive Function Recursive Proceduré ALGOL-60 ALGOL W PL/I SIMULA-67 Automatic Formula Manipulation SYMBAL APL 

CR categories

5.20 5.23 4.22 


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Copyright information

© BIT Foundations 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yngve Sundblad
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Information ProcessingRoyal Institute of TechnologyStockholmSweden

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