Minds and Machines

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 359–388 | Cite as

How to Make a Meaningful Comparison of Models: The Church–Turing Thesis Over the Reals

  • Maël PégnyEmail author


It is commonly believed that there is no equivalent of the Church–Turing thesis for computation over the reals. In particular, computational models on this domain do not exhibit the convergence of formalisms that supports this thesis in the case of integer computation. In the light of recent philosophical developments on the different meanings of the Church–Turing thesis, and recent technical results on analog computation, I will show that this current belief confounds two distinct issues, namely the extension of the notion of effective computation to the reals on the one hand, and the simulation of analog computers by Turing machines on the other hand. I will argue that it is possible in both cases to defend an equivalent of the Church–Turing thesis over the reals. Along the way, we will learn some methodological caveats on the comparison of different computational models, and how to make it meaningful.


Church–Turing thesis Type 2 theory of effectivity Analog computation Recursive analysis B.S.S. model \({\mathbb {R}}\)-recursive functions G.P.A.C. 



I wish to thank first and foremost Olivier Bournez, for many fruitful discussions. My former advisors J.B. Joinet and A. Grinbaum were also instrumental in the making of that paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CNRS, IHPST, ANR-DFG Project «Beyond Logic»Université de Paris 1Panthéon-SorbonneParisFrance

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