**Laver tables** are an infinite family of magmas that may give rise to a large number function.^{[1]} They were first defined by Richard Laver in 1992. For \(n \geq 0\), the size-\(n\) Laver table is a binary operator \(\star\) over \(\mathbb{Z}_{2^n}\), with the following properties:

\begin{eqnarray*} a \star 0 & = & 0 \\ a \star 1 & = & a+1 \\ a \star b & = & (a \star (b-1)) \star (a \star 1) \ (b \neq 0,1) \end{eqnarray*}

The period of the function \(a \mapsto 1 \star a\) depends on \(n\), and we will denote it by \(p(n)\). The first few values of \(p(n)\) are \(1, 1, 2, 4, 4, 8, 8, 8, 8, 16, 16, 16, 16, \ldots\) (OEIS A098820), a slow-growing function. \(p\) is provably divergent in the system ZFC + "there exists a rank-into-rank cardinal." Unfortunately, the latter axiom is so strong that there are a few specialists who doubt the consistency of the system. Since the divergence of \(p\) has not been proven otherwise, it remains an unsolved problem.

Let \(q(n)\) be minimal so that \(p(q(n)) \geq 2^n\), the "pseudoinverse" of \(p\). \(q\) is a fast-growing function that is total iff \(p\) is divergent. The first few values of \(q\) are \(0, 2, 3, 5, 9\). The existence of \(q(n)\) for \(n \geq 5\) has not even been confirmed, but under the assumption of the previously mentioned axiom, Randall Dougherty has shown that \(q^n(1) > f_{\omega+1}(\lfloor \log_3 n \rfloor - 1)\) in a slightly modified version of the fast-growing hierarchy,^{[2]} and \(q(5) > f_9(f_8(f_8(254)))\).^{[3]} Dougherty has expressed pessimism about the complexity of proving better lower bounds, and no upper bounds are known as of yet.

Patrick Dehornoy provides a simple algorithm for filling out Laver tables.^{[4]}

The expected size of \(q(6)\) was very large^{[5]}, however no reasoning or proof has been given other than "the strength of set theories required to prove a computable function total", however a computable function \(f\) need not outgrows all computable functions provably total in a set theory that is known to be required to prove that the function is total.

## Contents

## Explanation

For \(\lambda \in \text{Lim}\), let \(\mathcal{E}_\lambda\) be the set of elementary embeddings \(V_\lambda \mapsto V_\lambda\). For \(j,k \in \mathcal{E}_\lambda\), we define the operator \(j\cdot k\) (or \(jk\)) as follows:

\[j \cdot k = \bigcup_{\alpha < \lambda} j(k \cap V_\alpha)\]

Here, \(k \cap V_\alpha\) is the restriction of \(k\) to the subset \(\{x \in V_\alpha \mid (x,k(x)) \in V_\alpha\}\). Although \(k\) is not an element of the domain \(V_\lambda\) of \(j\), \(k \cap V_\alpha\) is an element of it. That is, we "apply \(j\) to \(k\) approaching \(V_\lambda\)." This operator has \(j(kl) = (jk)(jl)\), a property known as *left-selfdistributivity*. Laver table is known to be isomorphic to a magma associated to \(\mathcal{E}_\lambda\) using critical points, and hence is deeply related to a large cardinal axiom.^{[1]}

## Examples

The cyclic group \(\mathbb{Z}_{2^n}\) can be identified with the set \(\{1,2,3,\ldots,2^n\}\) through the canonical projection. A size-2 Laver table is shown below:^{[4]}

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | |
---|---|---|---|---|

1 | 2 | 4 | 2 | 4 |

2 | 3 | 4 | 3 | 4 |

3 | 4 | 4 | 4 | 4 |

4 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |

The entries at the first row repeat with a period of 2, and therefore \(p(2) = 2\).

A size-3 Laver table is shown below:^{[4]}

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | 2 | 4 | 6 | 8 | 2 | 4 | 6 | 8 |

2 | 3 | 4 | 7 | 8 | 3 | 4 | 7 | 8 |

3 | 4 | 8 | 4 | 8 | 4 | 8 | 4 | 8 |

4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 |

5 | 6 | 8 | 6 | 8 | 6 | 8 | 6 | 8 |

6 | 7 | 8 | 7 | 8 | 7 | 8 | 7 | 8 |

7 | 8 | 8 | 8 | 8 | 8 | 8 | 8 | 8 |

8 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 |

The entries at the first row repeat with a period of 4, and therefore \(p(3) = 4\).

## Sources

- ↑
^{1.0}^{1.1}Laver, Richard. On the Algebra of Elementary Embeddings of a Rank into Itself. Retrieved 2014-08-23. (Although the last word of the title of the paper is "itself", there is a typo "Inself" in the arXiv page title.) - ↑ With \(f_{\alpha + 1}(n) = f_\alpha^{n + 1}(1)\)
- ↑ Dougherty, Randall. Critical points in an algebra of elementary embeddings. Retrieved 2014-08-23.
- ↑
^{4.0}^{4.1}^{4.2}Dehornoy, Patrick. Laver Tables (starting on slide 26). Retrieved 2018-12-11. - ↑ https://googology.wikia.org/wiki/Laver_table?diff=prev&oldid=81250

## External Links

- 猫山にゃん太, Laver table - レイバーのテーブル, GitHub Page. (javascript program computing the table)
- 猫山にゃん太, レイバーのテーブル, YouTube. (Introduction to Laver table for people who know Japanese)
- Mitsuki1729, scratch巨大数選手権コンテスト レイバーのテーブル, scratch project. (scratch program computing \(q(5)\))

**By Harvey Friedman:** Mythical tree problem · Friedman's vector reduction problem · Friedman's finite ordered tree problem · block subsequence theorem n(4) · Friedman's circle theorem · TREE sequence TREE(3) · subcubic graph number SCG(13) · transcendental integer · finite promise games · Friedman's finite trees · Greedy clique sequence**Miscellaneous:** Factorial · Folkman's number · Exploding Tree Function · Graham's number · fusible number