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Humanist Archives: March 29, 2019, 5:48 a.m. Humanist 32.581 - noard-game metaphors

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 581.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
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        Date: 2019-03-28 09:06:05+00:00
        From: Rachel Hendery 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.575: board-game metaphors

In mathematics there's the four colour theorem, which is often explained by
discussing board games like Risk.

If we are looking beyond board games to games more generally, there are
these kinds of things:




Computer science

Rachel Hendery

On Wed, 27 Mar 2019, 17:21 Humanist,  wrote:

>                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 575.
>             Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                    Hosted by King's Digital Lab
>                        www.dhhumanist.org
>                 Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org
>         Date: 2019-03-26 06:52:34+00:00
>         From: Sean Yeager 
>         Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.565: board-game metaphors?
> Hello all,
> My academic background is in particle physics and cosmology (and I've also
> sunk more hours into games than I care to admit). I sent Willard a few
> ideas, which he recommended I share with the group:
> - The most relevant thing which comes to mind is comparing the number of
> atoms in the visible universe to the number of possible games of chess
> (i.e. the Shannon number ).
> There are also more ways to shuffle a deck of cards
> (
> https://www.mcgill.ca/oss/article/did-you-know-infographics/there-are-more-
> ways-arrange-deck-cards-there-are-atoms-earth
> )
> than atoms on earth.
> - Billiards is the standard go-to for explaining elastic collisions in
> classical mechanics. It's not exactly a board game (though it may qualify
> as a tabletop game?) and not exactly cosmology either, but collisions play
> a big role in the early universe and it seems within the general flavor.
> - And hinted with the Einstein and Hawking references, physicists love
> gambling as a metaphor for quantum and statistical mechanics. "Monte Carlo
> technique" has become something of a buzzword for any paper which runs
> randomized simulated trials. Can also be tied to backgammon via dice rolls.
> - Feynman diagrams are also often compared to Lego pieces and spacetime is
> often imagined as a trampoline's or a balloon's surface, though these
> aren't really games....
> - Though deterministic models of the universe aren't applicable on a
> fundamental level, they have some value on a macro level, and are
> reminiscent of variations of checkers/draughts where one player can compel
> another to make a certain move (e.g. jumping a piece).
> - Cosmological recombination might also be understood in terms of Red Rover
> (sorry for the non-board game again). Before recombination, photons would
> continuously collide with an impassable "wall" of free electrons, but the
> photons' path became clear after the universe cooled enough for electrons
> to become bound to protons.
> - Another almost-hit, but the formation of stars is roughly analogous to
> gathering friends for a board game: you need a certain number of players
> (i.e. mass) for the game to start (i.e. the star to ignite), but it becomes
> self-sustaining once some critical amount is reached.
> - There are many references to games and physics in Gödel, Escher, Bach,
> and
> folks might also be able to find more metaphors in "Big Bang, Black Holes,
> No Math (http://bigbang.physics.tamu.edu/)," by David Toback. Stephanie
> Boluk and Patrick LeMieux have also done some really cool work in
> Metagaming, such as mapping
> (
> c429-21b6-400a-89f3-c0f1ea142946#ch02
> )
> sections of *The Legend of Zelda* onto a torus, which is quite useful for
> introducing topology.
> - I don't know all too much about board game references among AI
> researchers, Google and OpenAI have been making big strides in creating
> mechanical players of both board games (Go
> (https://www.quantamagazine.org/artificial-intelligence-learns-to-learn-
> entirely-on-its-own-20171018/
> >)
> and video games (DotA
> (https://openai.com/blog/the-international-2018-results/) and Starcraft
> (https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/24/18196135/google-deepmind-ai-
> starcraft-2-victory>).
> I feel like these are probably already on most people's radar, but I've
> tacked them on just in case.
> Best,
> Sean
> Sean Yeager, M.Sc.
> Assistant Professor of Physics and Mathematics
> M.A. Candidate in Critical Studies
> Pacific Northwest College of Art

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