Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Computer Science


Helmut Jiirgensen


The principal motivation for this work is the observation that there are significant deficiencies in the foundations of conventional computability theory. This thesis examines the problems with conventional computability theory, including its failure to address discrepancies between theory and practice in computer science, semantic confusion in terminology, and limitations in the scope of conventional computing models. In light of these difficulties, fundamental notions are re-examined and revised definitions of key concepts such as “computer,” “computable,” and “computing power” are provided. A detailed analysis is conducted to determine desirable semantics and scope of applicability of foundational notions. The credibility of the revised definitions is ascertained by demonstrating by their ability to address identified problems with conventional definitions. Their practical utility is established through application to examples. Other related issues, including hidden complexity in computations, subtleties related to encodings, and the cardinalities of sets involved in computing, are examined. A resource-based meta-model for characterizing computing model properties is introduced. The proposed definitions are presented as a starting point for an alternate foundation for computability theory. However, formulation of the particular concepts under discussion is not the sole purpose of the thesis. The underlying objective of this research is to open discourse on alternate foundations of computability theory and to inspire re-examination of fundamental notions.



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