Lectures by Aaron Siegel at the Weizmann Institute

December 19, 2006 at 6:12 pm (algebra, kayles, lectures, nim, papers)

Aaron Siegel has come back from Israel where he gave five two-hour lectures on misere games.

  1. Normal play
  2. Octal games and misere play
  3. The periodicity theorem
  4. More examples
  5. Further topics

Students and faculty from the Weizmann helped Aaron prepare excellent notes that are now available (PDF).

Many thanks to Aviezri Fraenkel at the Weizmann Institute for creating this opportunity to spread the word about misere games and their intriguing algebra!

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An invitation to combinatorial games

October 13, 2006 at 6:00 pm (lectures)

Aaron Siegel’s slides from his recent talk, “An invitation to combinatorial games, (Part I).”

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An invitation to combinatorial games

October 4, 2006 at 6:13 am (abstracts, lectures)

Aaron Siegel is giving talks on combinatorial games at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ this month, on Oct 10 and 17.

Here is his abstract in the announcement:

Combinatorial game theory is the study of combinations of two-player games with no hidden information and no chance elements. The subject has its roots in recreational mathematics, but in its modern form involves a rich interplay of ideas borrowed from algebra, combinatorics, and the theory of computation.

The first part of this talk will be a general introduction to the classical theory of partizan games. I will show how a few simple axioms give rise to the group of short games, a partially-ordered Abelian group with enormously rich structure. I will discuss how the theory can be applied to extract useful information about a diverse array of games, including Nim, Domineering, Go, and to a lesser extent Chess.

In the second half of the talk, I will briefly discuss three areas of current research in combinatorial games: the theory of misere quotients; the lattice structure of short games; and the temperature theory of Go endgames. There has been significant activity in all three topics in the last five years, but nonetheless I will be able to state some major (and reasonably elementary) open problems in each of them.

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