A Review of Methods for Estimating Algorithmic Complexity: Options, Challenges, and New Directions

Complexity Digest

Hector Zenil

Entropy 2020, 22(6), 612


Some established and also novel techniques in the field of applications of algorithmic (Kolmogorov) complexity currently co-exist for the first time and are here reviewed, ranging from dominant ones such as statistical lossless compression to newer approaches that advance, complement and also pose new challenges and may exhibit their own limitations. Evidence suggesting that these different methods complement each other for different regimes is presented and despite their many challenges, some of these methods can be better motivated by and better grounded in the principles of algorithmic information theory. It will be explained how different approaches to algorithmic complexity can explore the relaxation of different necessary and sufficient conditions in their pursuit of numerical applicability, with some of these approaches entailing greater risks than others in exchange for greater relevance. We conclude with a discussion of possible directions that may or should be…

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