Game theory in the popular press.


Game theory and economics in the news

June 24, 2006 Slate, World Cup Game Theory
Optimal soccer penalty kicks require the use of mixed strategies. Zidane and Buffon are cited not only as world-class players but also master strategists. (by Tim Harford)
June 7, 2006 ABC News, Judge rules dispute to be settled by 'rock, paper, scissors' match
Lawyers will face off, with the assistance of paralegals. Perhaps mixed strategy equilibria will be a required topic in law schools. (by Matt Sokoloff)
May 18, 2005 CBS News, Listen to the children
Major auction houses forced to play rock-paper-scissors over rights to auction eccentric millionaire's art. "Sotheby's decided to leave its decision to chance, and had no particular strategy." (by Lloyd Garver)
April 29, 2005 New York Times, Rock, Paper, Payoff: Child's Play Wins Auction House an Art Sale
Major auction houses forced to play rock-paper-scissors over rights to auction eccentric millionaire's art. "Sotheby's decided to leave its decision to chance, and had no particular strategy." (by Carol Vogel)
January 31, 2005 Newsweek, Does your iPod play favorites?
People see patterns even when none exist, such as in IPod's randomization feature. This presents a behavioral challenge for mixed strategies. (by Steven Levy)
January 20, 2005 The Economist, Games people play
An evolutionary take on public goods contribution experiments, in which subject populations may converge to mixed strategies
October 25, 2004 Slate, Game Theory for Swingers
What states should presidential candidates visit in the final days of their campaign? Some strategies are dominant, others are mixed. (by Jordan Ellenberg)
October 18, 2004 Wired News, Awarding the brains behind AI
Daphne Koller, winner of the MacArthur "genius award," develops methods for calculating mixed strategies.
September 8, 2004 Financial Times, Game theory helps insurers to judge the risks of terror
A model offers game theoretic predictions of the likelihood of terrorist attacks.
February 24, 2004 NPR, The Not So Random Coin Toss
Coins are more likely to end up facing the same way they started the coin toss, calling into question their use as a method of resolving disputes.
January 20, 2004 New York Times, Subconsciously, athletes may play like statisticians
Athletes appear subconsciously to apply Bayes' Rule and to play equilibrium mixed strategies
December 19, 2003 Slate, Number Crunching: Why doesn't football have a Bill James?
A more reasoned approach to football strategy determines the value of each field position to calculate optimal play calling. (by Josh Levin)
October 28, 2003 Montreal Gazette, Paper covers rock, hype lures media
The World Championships of Rock, Paper, Scissors take mixed strategies a bit too far but guarantee fun for all.
May 20, 2003 Sydney Morning Herald, How to bomb friends and alienate us all
Both tightening of security post 9/11 and terrorists' increased pursuit of "soft" targets reflect optimal mixed strategies.
April 7, 2003 AScribe, Stealing bases just doesn't pay, says baseball game theorist
The threat of stealing a base keeps the opponent guessing but few games are won due to base stealing.
January 13, 2003 Gambling Magazine, Game and probability theories may suggest different strategies
A perverse (and incorrect) application of the minimax notion of mixed strategies to poker.
November 18, 2002 Toronto Star, Why paper and scissors rock
Hundreds of competitors at the World Rock Paper Scissors Society add a heuristic approach to mixed strategies.
November 5, 2002 New York Times, Departing Chief Says I.R.S. Is Losing War on Tax Cheats
Auditing tax payers requires mixed strategies but greater enforcement costs require proportionally greater funding.
November 4, 2002 Poker Mag, The truth about poker players
Short commentary argues most poker players decide on a whim, not optimal mixed strategies.
August 31, 2002 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Union keeps Midwest Express guessing
Union uses mixed strategies in threatening slowdowns to gain upper hand in negotation
April 8, 2002 Wall Street Journal, Can the risk of terrorism be calculated by insurers?
Understanding the mixed strategy game of target selection and defense helps quantify risk.
March 18, 2002 Business Week, Game theory's hidden holes
Disequilibrium play in the traveler's dilemma and games with mixed strategies
January 4, 2002 New Scientist, Euro coin accused of unfair flipping
Lack of uniformity across European Euro coins leads to different odds of heads and tails in different countries. (by Debora MacKenzie)
December 16, 2000 Environmental News Network, Lizards play rock-paper-scissors in the game of life
Multiple mating strategies survive in the mixed-strategy equilibrium
December 5, 2000 Scientific American, Mating lizards play a game of rock-paper-scissors
Multiple mating strategies survive in the mixed-strategy equilibrium
April 10, 2000 Lou Krieger, A little game theory
Optimal bluffing in poker requires understanding mixed strategies
April 14, 1999 Financial Times, Playing chicken can clip one's wings
Describes how the game of chicken applies not only to film versions of teenage angst, but also to common business situations. (by John Kay)
February 4, 1999 The Economist, Quantum computing: playing games
Quantum computing can revolutionize game theory with a new breed of mixed strategies
June 4, 1998 Nature, Mathematics: The big match
Mixed strategies provide a solution for working and shirking in a mythical kingdom.
November 24, 1997 The Business Journal (Milwaukee), In match penny stock theory, playing to win is a losing bet
Why beating the S&P is like playing matching pennies