## 117b – Undecidability and Incompleteness – Lecture 4

We showed that $a=n!$ is Diophantine. This implies that the prime numbers are Diophantine. Therefore, there is a polynomial in several variables with integer coefficients whose range, when intersected with the natural numbers, coincides with the set of primes. Amusingly, no nonconstant polynomial with integer coefficients can only take prime values.

We proved the bounded quantifier lemma, the last technical component of the proof of the undecidability of Hilbert’s tenth problem. It implies that the class of relations definable by a $\Sigma^0_1$ formula in the structure $({\mathbb N},+,\times,<,0,1)$ coincides with the class of $\Sigma_1$ relations (i.e., the Diophantine ones).

To complete the proof of the undecidability of the tenth problem, we will show that any c.e. relation is Diophantine. For this, recall that a set is c.e. iff it is the domain of a Turing machine. We proceeded to code the behavior of Turing machines by means of a Diophantic representation. This involves coding configurations of Turing machines and it remains to show how to code the way a configuration changes into another one.

### 4 Responses to 117b – Undecidability and Incompleteness – Lecture 4

1. Domenic says:

I was a bit confused about this in class, but it’s probably just because I was majorly sleep-deprived: “Therefore, there is a polynomial in several variables with integer coefficients whose range on the natural numbers coincides with the prime numbers. Amusingly, no nonconstant polynomial with integer coefficients can only take prime values.”

The distinction, then, is that there IS a polynomial whose range is all the primes AND a bunch of negatives, but there is NO polynomial whose range is primes only? Is that correct?

2. Yes, exactly. I think I may have actually written something incorrect on the board, so I will briefly review it on Tuesday. We have that the primes are Diophantine. From this, we saw how to build a polynomial P such that, if R is its range, then the intersection of R with the naturals is the set of primes. But any such R necessarily takes negative values (and 0?) as well. I rephrased the entry a little to make this clear.

3. Domenic says:

If anyone’s interested, I remembered reading about this polynomial (though I didn’t know the historical context in which it was derived) a while back in the book The Music of the Primes. According to Amazon’s search-inside-this-book function, it’s on page 200, which I have downloaded from Amazon and is now stored on my web page. It’s good to see these things actually written out!

4. Thanks!
The same polynomial is shown in page 331 of the handout “Hilbert’s tenth problem. Diophantine equations: positive aspects of a negative solutions”, it is due to J. P. Jones. The polynomial we obtain if we simply apply the definitions shown in lecture is different than this one.
It is curious that this polynomial is written as the product of two polynomials, and yet its (positive) values are precisely the prime numbers.