Issue No. 05 - September/October (1999 vol. 1)

ISSN: 1521-9615

pp: 2-3

ABSTRACT

The answer is yes--if you read the question the right way. However, anyone writing an editorial with a title such as this one must first define computation. The writer can then speculate on the real issue: is a computation ever proof? Giving a definition often means ruling out things that the object to be defined is not. For this discussion, I've ruled out proofs of program correctness, even automated ones. And I've ruled out the whole subject of combinatorics (where questions can occasionally be answered by looking at a number of specific cases). The computer-assisted proof of the Four-Color Theorem is the most famous example of this type. So that leaves numerical computation, in particular, if and when the result of a numerical (floating-point) computation gives a proof.

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CITATION

F. Sullivan, "Can a Numerical Computation Prove Anything?," in

*Computing in Science & Engineering*, vol. 1, no. , pp. 2-3, 1999.

doi:10.1109/MCSE.1999.10019

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