Mathematics/Computer Science Department Colloquium

November 08, 2019


Wednesday, November 13, 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Ruane Center for the Humanities, Room LL05

The Game of Cycles

Mary Leah Karker, Ph.D.

This talk concerns the Game of Cycles as described in Su’s 2020 book, Mathematics for Human Flourishing. In this game, two opponents take turns marking edges on a planar graph with a direction. No sinks or sources are allowed. The game ends in a win when one player completes a directed cycle on the boundary of a single cell or when the last playable move is made.

We will begin by playing a few rounds of the game and discussing general gameplay. What are good moves to make? Is it better to play first or second? Is there always a winning strategy? We will address these questions for a few basic boards and identify some useful features of completed gameboards. We will conclude by discussing some open questions and directions for future research. Many of these projects are accessible to undergraduate students and require little to no background knowledge. Thus, students with an interest in conducting undergraduate research are strongly encouraged to attend.

All results are joint work with R. Alvarado, M. Averett, B. Gaines, C. Jackson, M. Marciniak, F. Su, and S. Walker.

Leah Karker is an Assistant Professor at Providence College. She completed her undergraduate studies at Wesleyan University where she double majored in mathematics and philosophy. After spending at a year in the Center for Women in Mathematics Postbaccalaureate Program at Smith College she returned to Wesleyan University where she received her Ph.D. in mathematics in 2016. Her primary area of research is mathematical logic.

If you are a person with a disability and require an assistive device, service, or other accommodation to participate in this event, please contact the Central Reservations Coordinator (401-865-2070; M-F 8:30a.m. – 4:30p.m.) well in advance of this event.