a beautiful mind …..

In game theory, Nash equilibrium (named after John Forbes Nash, who proposed it) is a solution concept of a game involving two or more players, in which each player is assumed to know the equilibrium strategies of the other players, and no player has anything to gain by changing only his own strategy unilaterally.  If each player has chosen a strategy and no player can benefit by changing his or her strategy while the other players keep theirs unchanged, then the current set of strategy choices and the corresponding payoffs constitute a Nash equilibrium.

Stated simply, Amy and Phil are in Nash equilibrium if Amy is making the best decision she can, taking into account Phil’s decision, and Phil is making the best decision he can, taking into account Amy’s decision. Likewise, a group of players is in Nash equilibrium if each one is making the best decision that he or she can, taking into account the decisions of the others. However, Nash equilibrium does not necessarily mean the best payoff for all the players involved; in many cases, all the players might improve their payoffs if they could somehow agree on strategies different from the Nash equilibrium: e.g., competing businesses forming a cartel in order to increase their profits.

Game theorists use the Nash equilibrium concept to analyze the outcome of the strategic interaction of several decision makers. In other words, it provides a way of predicting what will happen if several people or several institutions are making decisions at the same time, and if the outcome depends on the decisions of the others. The simple insight underlying John Nash’s idea is that we cannot predict the result of the choices of multiple decision makers if we analyze those decisions in isolation. Instead, we must ask what each player would do, taking into account the decision-making of the others.

Nash equilibrium has been used to analyze hostile situations like war and arms races (see Prisoner’s dilemma), and also how conflict may be mitigated by repeated interaction (see Tit-for-tat). It has also been used to study to what extent people with different preferences can cooperate (see Battle of the sexes), and whether they will take risks to achieve a cooperative outcome (see Stag hunt). It has been used to study the adoption of technical standards, and also the occurrence of bank runs and currency crises (see Coordination game). Other applications include traffic flow (see Wardrop’s principle), how to organize auctions (see auction theory), the outcome of efforts exerted by multiple parties in the education process, and even penalty kicks in soccer (see Matching pennies).

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Wonder, silence, gratitude

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SS24 - in search of the bull !

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