The question output a number bigger than TREE(3) was closed as unclear what you are asking. I like the idea behind the question and would like to edit and reopen it.

To start I'm not even fully sure why it was closed. I get the phrasing was confusing, but the idea behind it is pretty simple.

Write the shortest program you can that doesn't take input,
eventually terminates and outputs a number bigger than TREE(3).

Is it a good idea to edit and reopen it? Is making a new question better (I don't think I have the required privileges)? Or is their something more fundamentally wrong with the idea?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I edited the question would some of you please be so kind to peer review the edit and vote to reopen (if you think the problems are fixed) ? \$\endgroup\$
    – fejfo
    Commented Oct 14, 2017 at 12:13

1 Answer 1


There's nothing fundamentally wrong with the idea. My primary reason for voting to close as unclear was given in a comment*, and I don't think it's been adequately addressed yet. Others may have voted to close on the basis that the question is too dependent on external links and should be edited to be more self-contained. If those two issues are addressed, I don't see why it couldn't be reopened.

* Said comment:

"It can be an integer, float, or any other number type that language supports. This number must be bigger than what is known as TREE(3)." Normally for this kind of question we assume that big integers are unbounded (despite the practical bounds imposed by implementation), but I don't recall any previous similar question which allowed floats and I'm not sure how to interpret this permission.

  • \$\begingroup\$ There is no real way around using external links to explain what tree(3) is. We could use a simpler number similar in size though (like googology.wikia.com/wiki/Bird%27s_number) And to check whether a number is really big enough I might require fast growing hierarchy approximations or make posts on math.stackexchange.com (could you clarify which comment you are talking about?) \$\endgroup\$
    – fejfo
    Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 19:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ It wasn't that hard to explain what it is. (And it was necessary, because your edit removed the external link!) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 14, 2017 at 19:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @fejfo First of all, tree(3) is much smaller than TREE(3). Secondly, you don't really need to understand TREE(3) if you can understand its fast growing hierarchy approximation well enough. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 23:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SimplyBeautifulArt I didn't realize tree(3) is different from TREE(3) and I don't need to understand it but I it would be useful, I think the problem is I don't know what trees are to well but the recent numberphile video cleared somethings up. \$\endgroup\$
    – fejfo
    Commented Oct 21, 2017 at 17:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @fejfo You may be interested in the ordinal approximation instead. If you don't have a background in ordinals, see these chat messages. I'll be happy to try and explain more in there. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 21, 2017 at 18:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SimplyBeautifulArt I'll take a look at that, I don't have a huge background in ordinals but I've watched David Metzler's videos on lagre numbers in which ordinals are used for little more than their fundamental sequences. \$\endgroup\$
    – fejfo
    Commented Oct 21, 2017 at 18:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @fejfo Personally I prefer extremely large numbers which goes over more or less the same thing. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 21, 2017 at 18:12

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