Rózsa Péter, Pioneer of Computability Theory

Rózsa Péter was one of the pioneers of recursive function theory. I wrote a short post about her for Ada Lovelace Day in 2010.  More recently, I’ve found this nice reminiscence/bio by Béla Andrásfai, a Hungarian graph theorist and Péter’s adoptive son.  I managed to track down one of his daughters, Eszter, who was so very kind to track down some pictures of Péter, one of which can be seen above. Many thanks, Eszter!

One thought on “Rózsa Péter, Pioneer of Computability Theory

  1. Dear Richard,
    Compliments on the splendid photos you have found and share!

    In your first line you call Rózsa Péter “one of the pioneers of recursive function theory”.
    And that is surely appropriate; she was a wizard at resolving complex recursion equations, as witnessed by her fine book Rekursive Funktionen.

    But in the title of your piece she is a pioneer of “Computability Theory”, and that is much more dubious. As told by Bob Soare, in Ch. 9.10.3 of Computability: Turing, Gödel, Church, and Beyond (eds. Copeland, Posy, Shagir), neither Turing nor Gödel used “recursive” to mean “computable”, nor should one , according to Gödel, use the term “recursive function theory” to refer to computability theory. It, so Gödel, “should be used with reference to the kind of work that Rosza Peter did.”

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