Re: ESSAY: Program length, Omega and Friendliness

From: Robin Lee Powell (
Date: Thu Feb 23 2006 - 10:37:24 MST

On Thu, Feb 23, 2006 at 11:02:39AM -0600, Brian Atkins wrote:
> Robin Lee Powell wrote:
> >
> >I'll grant you that all of those things combined do not seem to
> >add up to the complexity of ribosomes + protien folding +
> >physics, but the analogy works: the additional complexity of
> >using DNA comes from the surrounding infrastructure, but computer
> >programs *also* have surrounding infrastructure, especially if
> >one is writing in a high-level language.
> >
> So are you granting my overall point that the total complexities
> of each system in their uncompressed forms should be compared in
> order to make any sense?

If by "uncompressed forms" you mean some abstract form in which all
complexity, including physics itself, has been inlined, then yes, I
fully agree.

> And that attempting to directly compare compressed filesizes
> output between two totally different compression systems makes
> little sense?

To an extent; there are strong theoretical boundaries on compression
qua compression. Complexity of the substrate is something else
entirely. This isn't really about compression; it's about the
complexity of the underlying instruction set for the code in


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