“You’re gonna need a bigger boat,” Colloquium by Prof. Pete Brooksbank Thursday Sept. 1 at noon in Olin 268

Mathematics Department Student Colloquium Series

Thursday September 1 at noon in Olin 268.

Pizza will be served before the talk!

You’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat (or: How math & computation are changing professional game playing)
presented by Peter Brooksbank, Professor of Mathematics, Bucknell University

ABSTRACT: Those of a mathematical bent have always been drawn to games in which their natural predilections give them an edge over their opponents. Pioneers of computation, such as Alan Turing and John von Neumann, pondered whether machines could compete with, or even outperform humans in games such as Chess, Go, and Poker… even before the first computer was built! In the present day, where almost everyone has hand-held access to more powerful computers than Turing and von Neumann could have possibly imagined, their questions have largely been answered.

In this talk I will give a brief history of the interplay between mathematics, computation, and games. Along the way, some cool math tools will be provided to use in games of chance! I will talk about the state of the art in computer-assisted Chess, Go, and Poker, and sketch the mathematical ideas upon which these programs are founded. Mostly what I want to do in this talk is convince you that blending mathematical reasoning with tools from modern computing makes a powerful cocktail. From playing games with your friends to looking for a job, you’ll be sailing in a bigger boat!
Arrive early for free pizza!