The Importance of Recreational Mathematics in Solving Practical Problems

Friday, 14 February 2014: 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Columbus AB (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
Mathematical and scientific research inspired by games and puzzles has proved surprisingly resilient in finding practical applications. For example, the development of probability theory resulted from the earnest contemplation of problems faced by gamblers. In the 20th century, much progress in computer science resulted from trying to program a machine to play chess. Far from being a mere historical artifact, the relationship between pure mathematics and practical considerations is as strong today as it ever has been. The symposium brings together experts whose research has bridged the gap between recreational and practical mathematics, with particular emphasis on recent work in computer science and economics. The multidisciplinary nature of this research, typical of modern mathematics, will also be featured prominently. The discoveries and innovations that will solve global problems will not necessarily come from direct approaches to those problems, and the freedom of researchers to explore seemingly impractical problems is essential.
Jason Rosenhouse, James Madison University
Laura Taalman, James Madison University
Gary McGuire, University College Dublin
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Francis Su, Harvey Mudd College
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