This is the homepage for MATH 1150 (Mathematics of Games). This page will be updated throughout the term with important information for our course, including homework assignments, review materials, and more. |
Course meets every MW from 12:00 p.m. - 1:50 p.m. in John Greene Hall 219.
Text: Game Theory and Strategy by Philip D. Straffin.
Most of us have played games such as Tic-Tac-Toe, chess, Go, checkers, and poker. Many games can be studied mathematically using a branch of mathematics called game theory. We will discuss various facets of elementary game theory, including (but not limited to!) how to formulate strategies, what makes some strategies “better” than others, what makes some games difficult or impossible to analyze, and applications to real-world concepts. Specific topics we may cover include the Nash equilibrium, the prisoner’s dilemma, and bluffing in poker.
The class will not be purely theoretical; we will spend lots of time applying the course concepts by playing various games. A homework assignment might involve analyzing a simple game, devising a winning strategy, and then trying it out during class.
The course will be roughly broken up into two halves. The first half will be devoted to games where both players move simultaneously, without knowledge of the other player's move. (These are also called matrix games.) In the second half, we will focus on games where the players move sequentially, taking turns, until the game ends. (These are also called sequential games.)
Your term grade will consist of homework assignments (which may include problems from the text, problems I make up, or slightly longer open-ended projects), one midterm exam, and one final exam, broken down in the following way:
You will have a midterm exam on Monday, May 2nd, and a final exam on May 31st. Both exams will be in our classroom during classtime (12:00 p.m. - 1:50 p.m.)