# Numbering (computability theory) In computability theory a numbering is the assignment of natural numbers to a set of objects such as functions, rational numbers, graphs, or words in some formal language. A numbering can be used to transfer the idea of computability and related concepts, which are originally defined on the natural numbers using computable functions, to these different types of objects.

Common examples of numberings include Gödel numberings in first-order logic, the description numbers that arise from universal Turing machines and admissible numberings of the set of partial computable functions.

A numbering is total if it is a total function. If the domain of a partial numbering is recursively enumerable then there always exists an equivalent total numbering (equivalence of numberings is defined below).

A numbering η is single-valued if η(x) = η(y) if and only if x=y; in other words if η is an injective function. A single-valued numbering of the set of partial computable functions is called a Friedberg numbering.

When the objects of the set S being numbered are sufficiently "constructive", it is common to look at numberings that can be effectively decoded (Ershov 1999:486). For example, if S consists of recursively enumerable sets, the numbering η is computable if the set of pairs (x,y) where yη(x) is recursively enumerable. Similarly, a numbering g of partial functions is computable if the relation R(x,y,z) = "[g(x)](y) = z" is partial recursive (Ershov 1999:487).