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# Meta Math!: The Quest for Omega (Peter N. Nevraumont Books)

Gregory Chaitin, one of the world’s foremost mathematicians, leads us on a spellbinding journey, illuminating the process by which he arrived at his groundbreaking theory.

Chaitin’s revolutionary discovery, the Omega number, is an exquisitely complex representation of unknowability in mathematics. His investigations shed light on what we can ultimately know about the univer

Hardcover, 240 pages

Published
October 4th 2005
by Pantheon
(first published 2005)

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## Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)

Jan 29, 2017
Fortunr
rated it
really liked it
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
science-and-maths,
philosophy

“Omega”, a deceptively simple concept, but pregnant with deep implications in many realms of human inquiry: in layman terms, this is a real number expressing the “halting probability” that a randomly constructed program will halt after a finite number of processing steps.

At first glance, this seems just a technical tidbit with limited applicability, and of interest only to computer sciences practitioners. In reality the extraordinary features of such number, in conjunction with the important fin ...more

At first glance, this seems just a technical tidbit with limited applicability, and of interest only to computer sciences practitioners. In reality the extraordinary features of such number, in conjunction with the important fin ...more

**The flow of every page is broken up and littered with distractingly bolded sentences, unnecessary subheadings, and redundant information boxes.**

Chaitin takes every opportunity to remind ...more

Jun 15, 2007
David Rim
rated it
liked it
·
review of another edition

Recommends it for:
noone in particular

I'm not sure how I feel about the Quest for Omega. On the one hand its interesting in the sense that so many mathematical fields are coming together under the auspices of information / computational theory. On the other, this is weirdly unbalanced. There are really difficult concepts that are totally glossed over, and really simple concepts that are delved into. Im not being pretentious, but diophantine equations are pretty much passed by really quickly and then theres a whole chapter on Turings
...more

Mar 09, 2012
Jack
rated it
liked it
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
non-fiction-math-and-physics

If your math education petered out as mine did in the early going of calculus, there is quite a lot here that will either be very heavy going or will go right past you. Fortunately those parts aren't completely essential to appreciating the work. Chaitin is mostly trying to give the layman some understanding of the deepest insights we have into complexity and uncertainty, two notions that sort of meet at the concept of computability. Personally I'm at peace with the idea that I will never truly
...more

Given the set of all possible computer programs you select one at random (p) and run it on a specific computer. Each time the computer requests the next bit of the program, you flip a fair coin to generate it. The computer then must decide by itself when to stop reading the program. You sum for each program that ...more

Chaitin tries to make a careful argument many times about his subject, but it's difficult because he wastes no words in constructing the bits of reasoning he lays out for us. He nearly takes an interdisciplinary approach in order to approach the same structure from more than one point of view -- and I find it to be successful. I ...more

*niente*e l'autore inserisce continuamente note personali che non sono collegate alla sua supposta scoperta. Il libro dovrebbe condurre il lettore alla scopera di Omega, peccato che prima di introdurre il concetto il libro sia gi�� bello e finito, nel mezzo ci sono una serie di concetti che spaziano dalla matematica alla logica all'informatica alla biologia che sono debolmente legati.

L'autore fa diverse dimos ...more

But having said that, ...more

The text of the first part of the book was often tedious, but I was enthralled with the appendices. They described the fascinating philosophy of mathematics, enthusiasms my husband had oft ...more

Jun 08, 2008
Chris
rated it
really liked it
·
review of another edition

Recommended to Chris by:
Aaron Thomas

I had been reading and learning about Godel's Incompleteness theorem when a friend recommended this book to me. Also a book about incompleteness, this text focuses on the field of computer science-and on the computer itself as a philosophical/mathematical device-instead of discussing Godel's arduous proof. The most interesting idea I gathered from this book is this: mathematics may be more human invention than universal law. I would highly recommend it, especially as it is short and Chaitin's en
...more

Omega is the probability that a random program halts. No more than a finite number of bits of omega can be calculated by a formal system. And so most bits of omega are unprovable theorems. Omega is as close to random as math gets.

Aug 18, 2012
Worakarn Isaratham
rated it
it was ok
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
mathematics,
non-fiction

interesting content, awful writing.

Interesting book on maths

Mar 26, 2009
Sean
marked it as to-read

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Gregory Chaitin is widely known for his work on metamathematics and for his discovery of the celebrated Omega number, which proved the fundamental unknowability of math. He is the author of many books on mathematics, including Meta Math! The Quest for Omega. Proving Darwin is his first book on biology. Chaitin was for many years at the IBM Watson Research Center in New York. The research described
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