Ray tracing — computing the incomputable?

Ed Blakey
(University of Bristol)

We recall from previous work a model-independent framework of computational complexity theory. Notably for the present paper, the framework allows formalization of the issues of precision that present themselves when one considers physical, error-prone (especially analogue rather than digital) computational systems. We take as a case study the ray-tracing problem, a Turing-machine-incomputable problem that can, in apparent violation of the Church-Turing thesis, nonetheless be said to be solved by certain optical computers; however, we apply the framework of complexity theory so as to formalize the intuition that the purported super-Turing power of these computers in fact vanishes once precision is properly considered.

In Benedikt Löwe and Glynn Winskel: Proceedings 8th International Workshop on Developments in Computational Models (DCM 2012), Cambridge, United Kingdom, 17 June 2012, Electronic Proceedings in Theoretical Computer Science 143, pp. 32–40.
Published: 29th March 2014.

ArXived at: http://dx.doi.org/10.4204/EPTCS.143.3 bibtex PDF
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