Hardy Hierarchy
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Hardy Hierarchy

In computability theory, computational complexity theory and proof theory, the Hardy hierarchy, named after G. H. Hardy, is an ordinal-indexed family of functions h?N -> N (where N is the set of natural numbers, {0, 1, ...}). It is related to the fast-growing hierarchy and slow-growing hierarchy. The hierarchy was first described in Hardy's 1904 paper, "A theorem concerning the infinite cardinal numbers".


Let ? be a large countable ordinal such that a fundamental sequence is assigned to every limit ordinal less than ?. The Hardy hierarchy of functions h?N -> N, for ? < ?, is then defined as follows:

  • if ? is a limit ordinal.

Here ?[n] denotes the nth element of the fundamental sequence assigned to the limit ordinal ?. A standardized choice of fundamental sequence for all ? ?0 is described in the article on the fast-growing hierarchy.

Caicedo (2007) defines a modified Hardy hierarchy of functions by using the standard fundamental sequences, but with ?[n+1] (instead of ?[n]) in the third line of the above definition.

Relation to fast-growing hierarchy

The Wainer hierarchy of functions f? and the Hardy hierarchy of functions h? are related by f? = h?? for all ? < ?0. Thus, for any ? < ?0, h? grows much more slowly than does f?. However, the Hardy hierarchy "catches up" to the Wainer hierarchy at ? = ?0, such that f?0 and h?0 have the same growth rate, in the sense that f?0(n-1) h?0(n) f?0(n+1) for all n >= 1. (Gallier 1991)


  • Hardy, G.H. (1904), "A theorem concerning the infinite cardinal numbers", Quarterly Journal of Mathematics, 35: 87-94
  • Gallier, Jean H. (1991), "What's so special about Kruskal's theorem and the ordinal ?0? A survey of some results in proof theory" (PDF), Ann. Pure Appl. Logic, 53 (3): 199-260, doi:10.1016/0168-0072(91)90022-E, MR 1129778. (In particular Section 12, pp. 59-64, "A Glimpse at Hierarchies of Fast and Slow Growing Functions".)
  • Caicedo, A. (2007), "Goodstein's function" (PDF), Revista Colombiana de Matemáticas, 41 (2): 381-391.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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