sniffnoy: (Kirby)
[personal profile] sniffnoy
EDIT 8/3: One tiny correction, see struck out portion below. Also, pretty sure I really have proved this now.


OK, so it turns out that despite my big "EDIT: This entry is wrong" warning on my last entry, almost everything it is correct. Just, not quite for the reasons I thought.

My formula for "multidimensional natural multichoose", in the case of powers of ω, was indeed correct. What was not correct was the part I didn't write down -- what if the inputs are not powers of ω? In this entry I will describe the correct formula for this.

...OK, I say "correct" but in reality I haven't actually sat down and fully proved it. I'm pretty certain this has to be correct, though. If somehow I'm wrong, well, I'll put a big edit on this later. :P

So. Recall, we're given ordinals α1 through αn, and we want to compute the maximum extending ordinal of the poset of lower sets of α1×...×αn that are "strictly bounded in each dimension", i.e., none of the projections onto any of the αi are surjective. (To ignore some stupid stuff, I'm going to assume all αi are nonzero. You can rephrase the below so it's still correct even if one of them is zero, but I don't want to have to phrase it that way here.)

Here is what we do. First, we write out each ordinal in Cantor normal form; we're going to use the "weak" Cantor normal form, where exponents can be repeated but there are no coefficients. Each ordinal can be broken down into "segments" corresponding to the Cantor normal form, each of length a power of ω. Now, we're looking at the product of these ordinals, so this breaks up the product into finitely many "boxes"; again, the dimensions of these boxes are all powers of ω.

For ease of talking about it, I am going to place these boxes on a grid. Suppose that αi has ri segments. We will associate each box to an element of {1,...,r1}×...×{1,...,rn}.

Now, as per ancient mathematical tradition, we are going to take a (natural) sum of (natural) products (I'll omit the "natural" from here on out). (Indeed, if we were in 2 dimensions -- the case I'd solved earlier -- it would even be a sum over paths, with the value of each path being a product based on what it passed through. A wonderful mathematical tradition! Unfortunately, things don't quite work out that way in the general case.) The set we are going to be summing over is the set of lower sets of {1,...,r1-1}×...×{1,...,rn-1}. That's right -- we only want lower sets that don't use the highest possible coordinate in any dimension. Not unlike the problem we're trying to solve.

So for each such lower set, we need to get a value. What we're going to do is take the "frontier" of the lower set; to define that, let me introduce some notation. I'll use ε to denote the vector (1,...,1). A point p will be on the frontier of S if it is not in S, but p-ε is; or if p is along one of the lower boundaries (p has 1 among its coordinates), so that p-ε is "out of bounds".

So, are we going to take the product of values associated to the boxes on the frontier of S? Not quite. There's an additional restriction. For each point p, I'll define ε(p) to be the vector which is 1 in each dimension where the corresponding box is finite (i.e. has length 1), and 0 in each dimension where it's infinite. The box associated to the point p will only be included in the product if both p and p-ε(p) are on the frontier. (Note that if the box is infinite in all dimensions -- if it's "full-dimensional" -- then p-ε(p) is just p again.)

So now we can associate a value to each box included in our product. How do we do that? Well, write down the box's dimensions; let's drop all of them that are finite (i.e. 1), so we'll be looking at a box, possibly lower-dimensional, all of whose dimensions are infinite.

If the box has dimension 0, its value is 1. If the box has dimension 1, its value is equal to its length.

If the box has dimension 2 or more, its value is given according to the formula I stated earlier; if its dimensions are ωβ_1×...×ωβ_k, then its value is ωω^g(β_1,...,β_k), where g(β_1,...,β_k) is given as follows:
1. If at least two of the βi are infinite, or at least one of them is of the form ε+k where ε is an ε-number and k is finite, then g(β_1,...,β_k) is the natural sum of the βi.
2. Otherwise, it is the natural sum minus 1. (And it is guaranteed in this case that the natural sum will be a successor, so you will be able to subtract 1.)

(Note how different the rule is in dimension 2 or higher from in dimension 1! In dimension 2 or higher, the value of the box always has the form ωω^γ; this is not true at all in dimension 1.)

(Isn't the rule about the value of a box of dimension 0 unnecessary, seeing as such a box can never be included in the product anyway? Yes... unless you're in dimension 0 in the first place. I'm a believer in including trivial cases. Yes. You could actually leave the value undefined; I decided not to, but whatever, it's arbitrary.)

So, to summarize: You sum over lower sets of the set of boxes, excluding the outer boundaries; for each lower set S you multiply over boxes p on the frontier of S such that p-ε(p) is also on on the frontier of S; and the value of a box is given by the formula above. Not too bad, really. Much simpler than the general rule for "right-multichoose", certainly!

Now that that's out of the way, let's talk about inequalities. Specifically, the inequality o(Rev(A,B))≤o(Rev(A,o(B))), where A and B are WPOs, and we assume that Rev(A,B) and Rev(A,o(B)) are also WPOs.

Previously, I had proved this inequality when A is total, by mimicking the proof of the 2-dimensional case of the above. I then claimed (in the entry below) that by iterating this, one could prove it more generally when A is a product of ordinals, rather than just an ordinal.

That iterative proof does not work. Fortunately, now that I know how to handle the multidimensional case, indeed I can say that it is true when A is a product of ordinals, by mimicking the proof of the multidimensional case.

But I've been able to prove some other nice special cases of this inequality as well -- ones dependent only on the values of o(A) and o(B). Unfortunately, the methods used here are seriously unlikely to extend to other cases. Still, a month or two ago I would have been surprised to make basically any progress at all on the case where A might not be total.

So, first recall that, for trivial reasons, it works if A and B are both finite. Also, using the stuff above, it's not too hard to see that it works if A is finite, and o(B) is a power of ω (although somehow I apparently missed this earlier).

But I've also got it working now if we assume that B is finite... and that o(A) is an initial ordinal. Yeah, that's a pretty restrictive condition. Oh well. It'll have to do for now. (Note that a WPO A with o(A) initial is in some sense "close to total". Though maybe not too close; you can have A with o(A)=ω1 but Rev(A,2) not a WPO.)

In fact I've also got it working if o(B)=ω and o(A) is an initial ordinal. Or if we reverse it -- if o(A)=ω and o(B) is an initial ordinal. Unfortunately, I have not been able to "complete the rectangle" and get it working when o(A) and o(B) are both initial ordinals (unless one of them is ω, obviously).

Still, considerable progress! Maybe this inequality really is true in general. Or maybe I just haven't been clever enough in trying to come up with a counterexample. Well, we'll see -- hopefully, anyway.

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