Press release: How to apply Game Theory to Duels, House Buying and Love

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How to use  Game Theory in the Everyday Real-world applications: buying a home, pistol dueling, and  finding love

Embargo: 22 November 2022, 1pm

I would like to invite you to a free public lecture by Gresham Professor of Geometry Sarah Hart on Game Theory today at 1pm, or watch later. 

In this lecture Professor Hart discusses Game Theory and how theorists such as John Nash, David Blackwell and John von Neumann have used games such as the Prisoner’s Dilemma to measure the best course of action in a given situation. Auctions, penalty shoot-outs and a variety of other examples involve cases where the "decisions you make are affected by the decisions of others, like in a game of chess. Analysing situations like these mathematically by thinking of them as games, with players and strategies is what we call Game Theory". Envisaging them in this way allows us to find great strategies and enables us to craft the rules of the game to gain a better outcome.

In her lecture Professor Hart will discuss the work of David Blackwell, who is known for his work on the problem of duels. In one example, "Two duellists face each other 20 paces apart. They start walking towards each other, pistols raised. They may each fire a single bullet at each other, choosing when to do this. If one duellist hits the other first, he is the winner. If both miss, or both hit at the same time, it’s a draw." So what is the right course of action?

She will also go on to discuss how game theory is applicable to buying a house. She argues that to do this we need to make some assumptions about the rules of the game such as the sample size and that every house can be ranked from worst to best. ‘Our strategy will be to view a certain number of houses to get a sample, and then take the first house after this that’s the best so far’. Viewing the buying of a house in this way means we can use probability predictions to establish the best strategy to purchasing property.


Notes to Editors

You can sign up to watch the hybrid lecture online or in person below; or email me for an embargoed transcript or speak to Professor Sarah Hart: Lucia Graves, Head of Communications (PR & Media): / 07799 738 439

Read more about Professor Sarah Hart