Is There an Elegant Universal Theory of Prediction?

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4264)


Solomonoff’s inductive learning model is a powerful, universal and highly elegant theory of sequence prediction. Its critical flaw is that it is incomputable and thus cannot be used in practice. It is sometimes suggested that it may still be useful to help guide the development of very general and powerful theories of prediction which are computable. In this paper it is shown that although powerful algorithms exist, they are necessarily highly complex. This alone makes their theoretical analysis problematic, however it is further shown that beyond a moderate level of complexity the analysis runs into the deeper problem of Gödel incompleteness. This limits the power of mathematics to analyse and study prediction algorithms, and indeed intelligent systems in general.


Prediction Algorithm Kolmogorov Complexity Input String Computable Sequence Short Program 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial IntelligenceManno-LuganoSwitzerland

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