[FOM] Roth's Theorem; Liouville numbers
Timothy Y. Chow
tchow at alum.mit.edu
Wed Apr 19 10:51:24 EDT 2006
I wrote:
>Maybe if all you want is a primitive recursive bound then Mahler's proof
>can be simplified, but I've not heard of anyone doing that.
I should have checked MathSciNet before posting. Here is the first half
of the Mathematical Review of R. L. Goodstein, "The recursive
irrationality of pi," J. Symb. Logic 19:267-274.
---
A (primitive, general) recursive sequence of rational numbers $s_n$ is
(p., g.) recursively convergent when there exists a (p., g.) recursive
function $n (k)$ such that for $n\geq n(k)$, $|s_n-s_{n(k)}|<2^{-k}$. The
sequence is (p., g.) recursively irrational when there exist also (p., g.)
recursive functions $i(p,q)$ and $N(p,q)$ such that for $n\geq N(p,q)$,
$|s_n-p/q+1|>1/i(p,q)$. The sequence is strongly (p., g.) recursively
convergent in the scale $r$ when there exists a (p., g.) recursive
function $n(k)$ such that for $n\geq n(k)$, $[r^ks_n]=[r^ks_n]$.
The author constructs a primitive recursive sequence whose limit is the
zero of the Maclaurin series for $\sin x$ at $\pi$. This sequence is such
that he is able to prove its primitive recursive irrationality, and to
obtain a primitive recursive bound on the number of consecutive
occurrences of a given block of digits in the decimal expansion of $\pi$.
[...]
---
By the way, I share Steve Simpson's puzzlement at Jacques Carette's post.
As far as effectivity is concerned, the choice of base and the BBP formula
don't seem relevant. All we need to do to show that the nth digit of pi
(in any base) is a recursive (as opposed to a primitive recursive)
function of n is (1) an algorithm for computing pi to arbitrarily high
precision and (2) a proof that pi is irrational. Computing pi to high
precision will give you the nth digit unless you encounter the repeating
9's problem, but if you know that pi is irrational, then you know that you
will eventually resolve the ambiguity by computing far enough.
The BBP formula allows you to compute the nth binary digit of pi without
computing all the previous digits, but this is a separate issue from
effectivity.
After saying this, I wonder now whether one could solve Simpson's exercise
by taking a simple proof that pi is irrational and extracting a primitive
recursive bound from it. I took a look at Niven's famous proof that pi is
irrational:
http://pi314.at/math/misc/irrational_niven.pdf
Unfortunately, since he's concerned with slickness rather than with
computational issues, the proof is phrased as a proof by contradiction.
Note that there's an old Putnam problem which required the solver to show
0 < integral_0^1 x^4 (1-x)^4 / (1+x^2) dx = 22/7 - pi.
I suspect one can fiddle with Niven's proof to get a suitable
generalization of the Putnam problem, which would give a primitive
recursive handle on the difference between pi and any given rational.
It would be too weak to get an irrationality measure like Mahler's, but
would suffice for Simpson's exercise.
Tim
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