# Blog Archives

# Topic Archive: countable models

# Embeddings of the universe into the constructible universe, current state of knowledge

I shall describe the current state of knowledge concerning the question of whether there can be an embedding of the set-theoretic universe into the constructible universe. The main question is: can there be an embedding $j:Vto L$ of the set-theoretic universe $V$ into the constructible universe $L$, when $Vneq L$? The notion of *embedding* here is merely that $xin y$ if and only if $j(x)in j(y)$, and such a map need not be elementary nor even $Delta_0$-elementary. It is not difficult to see that there can generally be no $Delta_0$-elementary embedding $j:Vto L$, when $Vneq L$. Nevertheless, the question arises very naturally in the context of my previous work on the embeddability phenomenon, which shows that every countable model $M$ does admit an embedding $j:Mto L^M$ into its constructible universe. More generally, any two countable models of set theory are comparable; one of them embeds into the other. Indeed, one model $langle M,in^Mrangle$ embeds into another $langle N,in^Nrangle$ just in case the ordinals of the first $text{Ord}^M$ order-embed into the ordinals of the second $text{Ord}^N$. In these theorems, the embeddings $j:Mto L^M$ are defined completely externally to $M$, and so it was natural to wonder to what extent such an embedding might be accessible inside $M$. Currently, the question remains open, but we have some partial progress, settling it in a number of cases.

This is joint work of myself, W. Hugh Woodin, Menachem Magidor, with contributions also by David Aspero, Ralf Schindler and Yair Hayut. See more information at the links below:

Blog post for this talk | Related MathOverflow question | Article

# Countable model theory and the complexity of isomorphism

We discuss the Borel complexity of the isomorphism relation (for countable models of a first order theory) as the “right” generalization of the model counting problem. In this light we present recent results of Dave Sahota and the speaker which completely characterize the complexity of isomorphism for o-minimal theories, as well as recent work of Laskowski and Shelah which give a partial answer for omega-stable theories. Along the way, we introduce a few open problems and barriers to generalizing the existing results.

# The countable models of ZFC, up to isomorphism, are linearly pre-ordered by the submodel relation; indeed, every countable model of ZFC, including every transitive model, is isomorphic to a submodel of its own L

This will be a talk on some extremely new work. The proof uses finitary digraph combinatorics, including the countable random digraph and higher analogues involving uncountable Fraisse limits, the surreal numbers and the hypnagogic digraph.

The story begins with Ressayre’s remarkable 1983 result that if $M$ is any nonstandard model of PA, with $langletext{HF}^M,{in^M}rangle$ the corresponding nonstandard hereditary finite sets of $M$, then for any consistent computably axiomatized theory $T$ in the language of set theory, with $Tsupset ZF$, there is a submodel $Nsubsetlangletext{HF}^M,{in^M}rangle$ such that $Nmodels T$. In particular, one may find models of ZFC or even ZFC + large cardinals as submodels of $text{HF}^M$, a land where everything is thought to be finite. Incredible! Ressayre’s proof uses partial saturation and resplendency to prove that one can find the submodel of the desired theory $T$.

My new theorem strengthens Ressayre’s theorem, while simplifying the proof, by removing the theory $T$. We need not assume $T$ is computable, and we don’t just get one model of $T$, but rather all models—the fact is that the nonstandard models of set theory are universal for all countable acyclic binary relations. So every model of set theory is a submodel of $langletext{HF}^M,{in^M}rangle$.

Theorem.(JDH) Every countable model of set theory is isomorphic to a submodel of any nonstandard model of finite set theory. Indeed, every nonstandard model of finite set theory is universal for all countable acyclic binary relations.

The proof involves the construction of what I call the countable random $mathbb{Q}$-graded digraph, a countable homogeneous acyclic digraph that is universal for all countable acyclic digraphs, and proving that it is realized as a submodel of the nonstandard model $langle M,in^Mrangle$. Having then realized a universal object as a submodel, it follows that every countable structure with an acyclic binary relation, including every countable model of ZFC, is realized as a submodel of $M$.

Theorem.(JDH) Every countable model $langle M,in^Mrangle$ of ZFC, including the transitive models, is isomorphic to a submodel of its own constructible universe $langle L^M,in^Mrangle$. In other words, there is an embedding $j:Mto L^M$ that is quantifier-free-elementary.

The proof is guided by the idea of finding a universal submodel inside $L^M$. The embedding $j$ is constructed completely externally to $M$.

Corollary.(JDH) The countable models of ZFC are linearly ordered and even well-ordered, up to isomorphism, by the submodel relation. Namely, any two countable models of ZFC with the same well-founded height are bi-embeddable as submodels of each other, and all models embed into any nonstandard model.

The work opens up numerous questions on the extent to which we may expect in ZFC that $V$ might be isomorphic to a subclass of $L$. To what extent can we expect to have or to refute embeddings $j:Vto L$, elementary for quantifier-free assertions?