Bulletin of Symbolic Logic

Research Article

Mass Problems and Randomness

Stephen G. Simpson

Department of Mathematics, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA 16802, USA E-mail: simpson@math.psu.edu, URL: http://www.math.psu.edu/simpson/


A mass problem is a set of Turing oracles. If P and Q are mass problems, we say that P is weakly reducible to Q if every member of Q Turing computes a member of P. We say that P is strongly reducible to Q if every member of Q Turing computes a member of P via a fixed Turing functional. The weak degrees and strong degrees are the equivalence classes of mass problems under weak and strong reducibility, respectively. We focus on the countable distributive lattices ω and s of weak and strong degrees of mass problems given by nonempty subsets of 2ω. Using an abstract Gödel/Rosser incompleteness property, we characterize the subsets of 2ω whose associated mass problems are of top degree in ω and s, respectively Let R be the set of Turing oracles which are random in the sense of Martin-Löf, and let r be the weak degree of R. We show that r is a natural intermediate degree within ω. Namely, we characterize r as the unique largest weak degree of a subset of 2ω of positive measure. Within ω we show that r is meet irreducible, does not join to 1, and is incomparable with all weak degrees of nonempty thin perfect subsets of 2ω. In addition, we present other natural examples of intermediate degrees in ω. We relate these examples to reverse mathematics, computational complexity, and Gentzen-style proof theory.

(Received June 28 2004)

(Revised October 22 2004)