The Journal of Symbolic Logic

Research Article

The slow-growing and the Graegorczyk hierarchies

E.A. Cichona1 and S.S. Wainera2

a1 Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania 16801

a2 Leeds University, Leeds, Great Britain LS2 9JT

We give here an elementary proof of a recent result of Girard [4] comparing the rates of growth of the two principal (and extreme) examples of a spectrum of “majorization hierarchies”—i.e. hierarchies of increasing number-theoretic functions, indexed by (systems of notations for) initial segments I of the countable ordinals so that if α < βI then the βth function dominates the αth one at all but finitely-many positive integers x.

Hardy [5] was perhaps the first to make use of a majorization hierarchy—the H α 's below—in “exhibiting” a set of reals with cardinality ℵ1. More recently such hierarchies have played important roles in mathematical logic because they provide natural classifications of recursive functions according to their computational complexity. (All the functions considered here are “honest” in the sense that the size of their values gives a measure of the number of steps needed to compute them.)

The hierarchies we are concerned with fall into three main classes depending on their mode of generation at successor stages, the other crucial parameter being the initial choice of a particular (standard) fundamental sequence λ 0 < λ 1 < λ 2 < … to each limit ordinal λ under consideration which, by a suitable diagonalization, will then determine the generation at stage λ.

Our later comparisons will require the use of a “large” initial segment I of proof-theoretic ordinals, extending as far as the “Howard ordinal”. However we will postpone a precise description of these ordinals and their associated fundamental sequences until later.

(Received April 10 1981)