Pythia and Tyche: An Eternal Golden Braid

  • Lefteris M. Kirousis
  • Paul Spirakis
Conference paper
Part of the Fundamental Theories of Physics book series (FTPH, volume 24)


There are two fundamental ways to introduce non-determinism in an algorithm. One is to provide an “oracle” that the algorithm can consult at certain stages of its execution in order to get answers for questions of a prespecified type. The second is to introduce randomness, i.e., to allow certain steps of the algorithm depend on the outcome of a random experiment. Both methods are essential in developing a theory of complexity for algorithms. In other words, both methods help in understanding the inherent difficulties associated with various types of problems and consequently, sometimes, they provide the insight necessary to obtain better deterministic algorithms (as we shall explain, random algorithms — as opposed to oracle computations - are on their own important in practice). In this paper, we explain the impact of these two forms of non-determinism on Complexity theory and we attempt to highlight the intriguing relation between them.


Decision Procedure Travelling Salesman Problem Propositional Calculus Random Algorithm Satisfiability Problem 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lefteris M. Kirousis
    • 1
  • Paul Spirakis
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of MathematicsUniversity of PatrasGreece
  2. 2.Computer Technology InstituteGreece
  3. 3.Courant Inst. of Mathematical SciencesUSA

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