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seen Feb 16 '12 at 1:01

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awarded  Scholar
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accepted What are the limits of non-halting?
Jun
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comment What are the limits of non-halting?
The 'black hole' idea is exactly the kind of thing I was hoping for. Thanks!
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May
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revised What are the limits of non-halting?
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May
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comment What are the limits of non-halting?
Thanks--your response made me think about aspects that hadn't occurred to me. I'm not sure how BB helps in this case though. In this case we get to design the robot's programming from the ground up. So we can make it halt easily enough, or make it loop forever easily. So the theoretical limitations on functions over general machines don't prevent us from designing particular ones with halting/not built in. E.g. given size N and run time M, we can build a machine to specs in some but not all cases. Is there theory that limits what we can design, rather than limiting what we can discover?
May
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comment What are the limits of non-halting?
This sounds like a very practical approach (limiting what Herr Robot can do), but it won't work once it becomes smart enough to re-engineeer its own construction, will it? A different analogy is this: suppose a government runs on axioms (ha!) for its legislative processes, starting with a constitution. The constitution permits self-modification in order to meet unforseen challenges. Are there constitutions that are guaranteed (or likely) not to 'halt'? This would be a state in which no more legislation is possible. (Such halting has actually happened at least once!)
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awarded  Student
May
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asked What are the limits of non-halting?