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The Busy Beaver Competition: a historical survey

Pascal Michel (ELM)
Arxiv ID: 0906.3749Last updated: 12/15/2022
Tibor Rado defined the Busy Beaver Competition in 1962. He used Turing machines to give explicit definitions for some functions that are not computable and grow faster than any computable function. He put forward the problem of computing the values of these functions on numbers 1, 2, 3, ... More and more powerful computers have made possible the computation of lower bounds for these values. In 1988, Brady extended the definitions to functions on two variables. We give a historical survey of these works. The successive record holders in the Busy Beaver Competition are displayed, with their discoverers, the date they were found, and, for some of them, an analysis of their behavior.

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