From Heisenberg to Goedel via Chaitin

Authors: C.S. Calude, M.A. Stay

(Submitted on 26 Feb 2004 (v1), last revised 11 Jul 2006 (this version, v6))

Abstract: In 1927 Heisenberg discovered that the ``more precisely the position is determined, the less precisely the momentum is known in this instant, and vice versa''. Four years later G\"odel showed that a finitely specified, consistent formal system which is large enough to include arithmetic is incomplete. As both results express some kind of impossibility it is natural to ask whether there is any relation between them, and, indeed, this question has been repeatedly asked for a long time. The main interest seems to have been in possible implications of incompleteness to physics. In this note we will take interest in the {\it converse} implication and will offer a positive answer to the question: Does uncertainty imply incompleteness? We will show that algorithmic randomness is equivalent to a ``formal uncertainty principle'' which implies Chaitin's information-theoretic incompleteness. We also show that the derived uncertainty relation, for many computers, is physical. In fact, the formal uncertainty principle applies to {\it all} systems governed by the wave equation, not just quantum waves. This fact supports the conjecture that uncertainty implies randomness not only in mathematics, but also in physics.

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