Ray tracing -- computing the incomputable?

Ed Blakey

We recall from previous work a model-independent framework of computational complexity theory. Notably for the present paper, the framework allows formalization of the issues of precision that present themselves when one considers physical, error-prone (especially analogue rather than digital) computational systems. We take as a case study the ray-tracing problem, a Turing-machine-incomputable problem that can, in apparent violation of the Church-Turing thesis, nonetheless be said to be solved by certain optical computers; however, we apply the framework of complexity theory so as to formalize the intuition that the purported super-Turing power of these computers in fact vanishes once precision is properly considered.

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