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Book Sections Year : 2015

Around Kolmogorov Complexity: Basic Notions and Results

Alexander Shen


Algorithmic information theory studies description complexity and randomness and is now a well known field of theoretical computer science and mathematical logic. There are several textbooks and monographs devoted to this theory where one can find the detailed exposition of many difficult results as well as historical references. However, it seems that a short survey of its basic notions and main results relating these notions to each other, is missing. This report attempts to fill this gap and covers the basic notions of algorithmic information theory: Kolmogorov complexity (plain, conditional, prefix), Solomonoff universal a priori probability, notions of randomness (Martin-L\"of randomness, Mises--Church randomness), effective Hausdorff dimension. We prove their basic properties (symmetry of information, connection between a priori probability and prefix complexity, criterion of randomness in terms of complexity, complexity characterization for effective dimension) and show some applications (incompressibility method in computational complexity theory, incompleteness theorems). It is based on the lecture notes of a course at Uppsala University given by the author.

Dates and versions

lirmm-01233758 , version 1 (25-11-2015)



Alexander Shen. Around Kolmogorov Complexity: Basic Notions and Results. Measures of Complexity. Festschrift for Alexey Chervonenkis, Part II, Springer, pp.75-115, 2015, 978-3-319-21851-9. ⟨10.1007/978-3-319-21852-6_7⟩. ⟨lirmm-01233758⟩
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