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How To Use Math To Dominate At Monopoly – Business Insider

Monopoly is one of the classic American games.
It’s played amongst close friends, loved ones, and trusted business partners. 

It’s also one of the few times in life where it’s perfectly acceptable to want to systematically annihilate and crush the aforementioned friends, loved ones and partners. 

Well, we’re here to help.

Monopoly has a major element of chance in it, and the best part about games of chance is that people with Microsoft Excel can basically solve them. 

We broke down the must-know math behind Monopoly as well as several lessons you can take away from what truly is The Most Dangerous Game.

via How To Use Math To Dominate At Monopoly – Business Insider.

>Hamiltonian path



In the mathematical field of graph theory, a Hamiltonian path (or traceable path) is a path in an undirected graph that visits each vertex exactly once. A Hamiltonian cycle (or Hamiltonian circuit) is a cycle in an undirected graph which visits each vertex exactly once and also returns to the starting vertex. Determining whether such paths and cycles exist in graphs is the Hamiltonian path problem which is NP-complete.

Hamiltonian paths and cycles are named after William Rowan Hamilton who invented the Icosian game, now also known as Hamilton’s puzzle, which involves finding a Hamiltonian cycle in the edge graph of the dodecahedron. Hamilton solved this problem using the Icosian Calculus, an algebraic structure based on roots of unity with many similarities to the quaternions (also invented by Hamilton). This solution does not generalize to arbitrary graphs.

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>Riemann Zeta Function — from Wolfram MathWorld



The Riemann zeta function is an extremely important special function of mathematics and physics that arises in definite integration and is intimately related with very deep results surrounding the prime number theorem. While many of the properties of this function have been investigated, there remain important fundamental conjectures (most notably the Riemann hypothesis) that remain unproved to this day. The Riemann zeta function zeta(s) is defined over the complex plane for one complex variable, which is conventionally denoted s (instead of the usual z) in deference to the notation used by Riemann in his 1859 paper that founded the study of this function (Riemann 1859). It is implemented in Mathematica as Zeta[s].

Riemann was THE MAN

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>Prisoner’s dilemma


The prisoner’s dilemma is a fundamental problem in game theory that demonstrates why two people might not cooperate even if it is in both their best interests to do so. It was originally framed by Merrill Flood and Melvin Dresher working at RAND in 1950. Albert W. Tucker formalized the game with prison sentence payoffs and gave it the “prisoner’s dilemma” name (Poundstone, 1992).

A classic example of the prisoner’s dilemma (PD) is presented as follows:

Two suspects are arrested by the police. The police have insufficient evidence for a conviction, and, having separated the prisoners, visit each of them to offer the same deal. If one testifies for the prosecution against the other (defects) and the other remains silent (cooperates), the defector goes free and the silent accomplice receives the full 10-year sentence. If both remain silent, both prisoners are sentenced to only six months in jail for a minor charge. If each betrays the other, each receives a five-year sentence. Each prisoner must choose to betray the other or to remain silent. Each one is assured that the other would not know about the betrayal before the end of the investigation. How should the prisoners act?

If we assume that each player cares only about minimizing his or her own time in jail, then the prisoner’s dilemma forms a non-zero-sum game in which two players may each either cooperate with or defect from (betray) the other player. In this game, as in most game theory, the only concern of each individual player (prisoner) is maximizing his or her own payoff, without any concern for the other player’s payoff. The unique equilibrium for this game is a Pareto-suboptimal solution, that is, rational choice leads the two players to both play defect, even though each player’s individual reward would be greater if they both played cooperatively.

In the classic form of this game, cooperating is strictly dominated by defecting, so that the only possible equilibrium for the game is for all players to defect. No matter what the other player does, one player will always gain a greater payoff by playing defect. Since in any situation playing defect is more beneficial than cooperating, all rational players will play defect, all things being equal.

In the iterated prisoner’s dilemma, the game is played repeatedly. Thus each player has an opportunity to punish the other player for previous non-cooperative play. If the number of steps is known by both players in advance, economic theory says that the two players should defect again and again, no matter how many times the game is played. However, this analysis fails to predict the behavior of human players in a real iterated prisoners dilemma situation, and it also fails to predict the optimum algorithm when computer programs play in a tournament. Only when the players play an indefinite or random number of times can cooperation be an equilibrium, technically a subgame perfect equilibrium meaning that both players defecting always remains an equilibrium and there are many other equilibrium outcomes. In this case, the incentive to defect can be overcome by the threat of punishment.

In casual usage, the label “prisoner’s dilemma” may be applied to situations not strictly matching the formal criteria of the classic or iterative games, for instance, those in which two entities could gain important benefits from cooperating or suffer from the failure to do so, but find it merely difficult or expensive, not necessarily impossible, to coordinate their activities to achieve cooperation.

I found this to be fascinating. Yes, I’m a total geek.

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