Golf a number bigger than TREE(3)

New Ruby, 135 bytes, >> Hψ(φ3(Ω+1))(9)

where H is the Hardy hierarchy, ψ is an extended version of Madore's OCF (will explain below) and φ is the Veblen function.

Try it online!

f=->a,n,b=a{c,d,e=a;a==c ?a-1:e ?a==a-[0]?[[c,d,f[e,n,b]],d-1,c]:c:[n<1||c==0?n:[f[c||b,n-1]],n,n]};h=[],k=9,k;h=f[h,p(k*=k)]while h!=0

Ungolfed: (using functions, not lambdas)

def f(a,n,b)
  c,d,e = a
  if a == c
    return a-1
  elsif e
    if a == a-[0]
      return [[c,d,f(e,n,b)],d-1,c]
      return c
    x = c || b
    if n < 1 || c == 0
      return [n,n,n]
      return [f(x,n-1,x),n,n]

k = 9
h = [[],k,k]
while (h != 0) do
  k *= k
  p k
  h = f(h,k,h)

Madore's extended OCF:

enter image description here

And (crudely) Veblen's phi function:

enter image description here

Explanation without ordinals:

f(a,n,b) reduces an array recursively. (if no third argument given, it takes the first argument twice.)
f(k,n,b) = k-1, k is a positive int.
f([c,d,0],n,b) = f([c,0,e],n,b) = c
f([c,d,e],n,b) = [[c,d,f(e,n,b)],d-1,c], d ≠ -1 and c ≠ 0

f([a],0,b) = [0,0,0]
f([0],n,b) = [n,n,n]
f([],n,b) = f([b],n,b)
f([a],n,b) = [f[a,n-1,a],n,n]

My program initiates k = 9, h = [[],9,9]. It then applies k = k*k and h = f(h,k) until h == 0 and outputs k.

Explanation with ordinals:

Ordinals follow the following representation: n, [], [a], [a,b,c], where n,d is a natural number and a,c are all ordinals.
x = Ord(y) if y is the syntactic version of x.
a[n,b] = Ord(f(a,n))
ω = Ord([0]) = Ord(f([a],-1,b))
n = Ord(n)
Ω = Ord([])
ψ'(a) = Ord([a])
ψ'(a)[n] = Ord(f([a],n))
φ(b,c) ≈ Ord([[0],b,c])
a(↓b)c = Ord([a,b,c]) (down-arrows/backwards associative hyper operators I designed just for ordinals)

We follow the following FS for our ordinals:
k[n,b] = k-1, k < ω
ω[n,b] = n(↓n)n
(a(↓b)0)[n,b] = (a(↓0)c)[n,b] = a
(a(↓b)c)[n,b] = (a(↓b)(c[n,b]))(↓b[n,b])a, b ≥ 0 and c > 0.
ψ'(a)[0,b] = 0(↓0)0
ψ'(a)[n,b] = (ψ'(a[n-1,a]))(↓n)ω, a > 0 and n ≥ 0. (also note that we've changed from [n,b] to [n,a].)
Ω[n,b] = ψ'(b)[n,b]

ψ'(ω∙α) ≈ ψ(α), the ordinal collapsing function described in the image above.

My program more or less initiates k = 9 and h = Ω(↑9)9, then applies k ← k² and h ← h[k,h] until h = 1 and returns k.

And so if I did this right, [[],9,9] is way bigger than the Bachmann-Howard ordinal ψ(ΩΩΩ...), which is way bigger than ϑ(Ωωω)+1.

ψ(Ω(↓9)9) > ψ(Ω(↓4)3) > ψ(ΩΩΩ)+1 > ψ(ΩΩωω)+1 > ϑ(Ωωω)+1

And if my analysis is correct, then we should have ψ'(ΩΩ∙x) ~= ψ*(ΩΩ∙x), where ψ* is the normal Madore's psi function. If this holds, then my ordinal is approximately ψ*(φ3(Ω+ω)).

Old Ruby, 309 bytes, Hψ'09)(9) (see revision history, besides the new one is way better)

Haskell, 252 Bytes, TREE(3)+1

data T=T[T]Int
l(T n _)=1+sum(l<$>n)
a@(T n c)#T m d=any(a#)m||c==d&&n!m
x!_=null x
a n=do x<-[1..n];T<$>mapM(\_->a$n-1)[2..x]<*>[1..3]
s 0=[[]]
s n=[t:p|p<-s$n-1,t<-a n,(l t<=n)>any(#t)p]
main=print$[x|x<-[0..],null$s x]!!0

Thanks for help from H.PWiz, Laikoni and Ørjan Johansen for help golfing the code!

As suggested by HyperNeutrino, my program outputs TREE(3)+1, exactly (TREE is computable as it turns out).

T n c is a tree with label c and nodes n. c should be 1, 2, or 3.

l t is the number of nodes in a tree t.

t1 # t2 is true if t1 homeomorphically embeds into t2 (based on Definition 4.4 here), and false otherwise.

a n outputs a big list of trees. The exact list isn't important. The important property is that a n contains every tree up to n nodes, with nodes being labelled with 1, 2, or 3, and maybe some more trees as well (but those other trees will also be labelled with 1, 2, or 3). It is also guaranteed to output a finite list.

s n lists all sequences length n of trees, such that the reverse (since we build it backwards) of that sequence is valid. A sequence is valid if the nth element (where we start counting at 1) has at most n nodes, and no tree homeomorphically embeds into a later one.

main prints out the smallest n such that there is no valid sequences of length n.

Since TREE(3) is defined as the length of the longest valid sequence, TREE(3)+1 is the smallest n such that there are no valid sequences of length n, which is what my program outputs.

Python 2, 194 bytes, ~ Hψ(ΩΩΩ)(9)

where H is the Hardy hierarchy, and ψ is the ordinal collapsing function below the Bachmann-Howard ordinal defined by Pohlers.

Thanks to Jonathan Frech for -3 bytes.

def S(T):return 0if T==1else[S(T[0])]+T[1:]
def R(T):U=T[0];V=T[1:];exec"global B;B=T"*(T[-1]==0);return[S(B)]+V if U==1else[R(U)]*c+V if U else V
while A:A=R(A);c*=c
print c

Try it online!

Better spaced version:

def S(T):
  return 0 if T==1 else [S(T[0])]+T[1:]

def R(T):
  global B
  if T[-1]==0:
  if U==1: 
    return [S(B)]+V
  return [R(U)]*c+V if U else V

while A:
print c


This program implements a variant of the Buchholz hydra, using just labels of 0 and 1. Basically, at each step, we look at the first leaf node of the tree, and see if it is labelled with a 0 or a 1.

-If the leaf node is labelled with a 0, then we delete the leaf node, and then copy the tree starting from the parent of the leaf node c times, all of the copies connected to the grandparent of the leaf node.

-If the leaf node is labelled with a 1, then we search back towards the root until we reach an ancestor node labelled with a 0. Let S be the tree starting from that ancestor node. Let S' be S with the leaf node relabelled with 0. Replace the leaf node with S'.

We then repeat the process until we have nothing left but the root node.

This program differs from the normal Buchholz hydra procedure in two ways: First, after we do the above procedure, we recurse back up the tree, and do the label 0 copy procedure described above for each ancestor node of the original leaf node. This increases the size of the tree, so our procedure will take longer than the normal Buchholz hydra, and therefore lead to a bigger number in the end; however, it will still terminate because the ordinal associated with the new tree will still be less the the old tree. The other difference is, rather than start with c = 1 and increasing 1 each time, we start with c = 9 and square it each time, because why not.

The tree [[[1,1],1],0] corresponds to the ordinal ψ(ΩΩΩ), which is considerably bigger than the ordinal ϑ(Ωωω), and so our resulting final number of about Hψ(ΩΩΩ)(9) will definitely exceed TREE(3).