SMS scnews item created by Sean Gardiner at Wed 19 Mar 2014 1100
Type: Seminar
Distribution: World
Expiry: 21 Mar 2014
Calendar1: 20 Mar 2014 1300-1400
CalLoc1: New Law 020
Auth: seangard@cpe-124-188-249-104.ezsb1.cht.bigpond.net.au (sgar9702) in SMS-WASM

SUMS: Gardiner -- Game Theory and Nimbers

This week’s SUMS talk is a brief overview of impartial combinatorial two-player game
theory.  

Abstract: Suppose you have a finite number of stones that have been divided into a
number of piles.  You and another player then take turns picking a pile and removing any
positive number of stones from it.  If the final stone is removed on your turn, you
win.  

This game goes by the name of Nim, and a natural question to ask is what initial
positions guarantee the first or second player wins.  How does our answer change if we
introduce or remove certain constraints on Nim, and can we apply this knowledge to any
other two-player games? 

This talk will give a brief introduction to game theory for impartial combinatorial
games like Nim, and discuss the number system that arises from position analysis of
these games (known as nimbers).


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