The Relevance of ComputationIrreducibility as ComputationUniversality in Economics

  • K. Vela Velupillai
Part of the Emergence, Complexity and Computation book series (ECC, volume 2)


Stephen Wolfram’s A New Kind of Science [26] should have made a greater impact in economics—at least in its theorising and computational modes—than it seems to have. There are those who subscribe to varieties of agent-based modelling, who do refer to Wolfram’s paradigms–a word I use with the utmost trepidation–whenever simulational exercises within a framework of cellular automata is invoked to make claims on complexity, emergence, holism, reduction and many such ‘buzz words’. Very few of these exercises, and their practitioners, seem to be aware of the deep mathematical–and even metamathematical–underpinnings of Wolfram’s innovative concepts, particularly of computational equivalence and computational irreducibility in the works of Turing and Ulam. Some threads of these foundational underpinnings are woven together to form a possible tapestry for economic theorising and modelling in computable modes.


Computational equivalence computational irreducibility computation universality 


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Vela Velupillai
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Economics/ASSRUUniversity of TrentoTrentoItaly

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