The complexity of chess matches has attracted broad interest since its invention. This complexity and the availability of large number of recorded matches make chess an ideal model systems for the study of population-level learning of a complex system. We systematically investigate the move-by-move dynamics of the white player’s advantage from over seventy thousand high level chess matches spanning over 150 years. We find that the average advantage of the white player is positive and that it has been increasing over time. Currently, the average advantage of the white player is [Formula: see text]0.17 pawns but it is exponentially approaching a value of 0.23 pawns with a characteristic time scale of 67 years. We also study the diffusion of the move dependence of the white player’s advantage and find that it is non-Gaussian, has long-ranged anti-correlations and that after an initial period with no diffusion it becomes super-diffusive. We find that the duration of the non-diffusive period, corresponding to the opening stage of a match, is increasing in length and exponentially approaching a value of 15.6 moves with a characteristic time scale of 130 years. We interpret these two trends as a resulting from learning of the features of the game. Additionally, we find that the exponent [Formula: see text] characterizing the super-diffusive regime is increasing toward a value of 1.9, close to the ballistic regime. We suggest that this trend is due to the increased broadening of the range of abilities of chess players participating in major tournaments.
Disordered structures such as liquids and glasses, grains and foams, galaxies, etc. are often represented as polyhedral tilings. Characterizing the associated polyhedral tiling is a promising strategy to understand the disordered structure. However, since a variety of polyhedra are arranged in complex ways, it is challenging to describe what polyhedra are tiled in what way. Here, to solve this problem, we create the theory of how the polyhedra are tiled. We first formulate an algorithm to convert a polyhedron into a codeword that instructs how to construct the polyhedron from its building-block polygons. By generalizing the method to polyhedral tilings, we describe the arrangements of polyhedra. Our theory allows us to characterize polyhedral tilings, and thereby paves the way to study from short- to long-range order of disordered structures in a systematic way.
In competitive situations, individuals need to adjust their behavioral strategy dynamically in response to their opponent’s behavior. In the present study, we investigated the neural basis of how individuals adjust their strategy during a simple, competitive game of matching pennies. We used entropy as a behavioral index of randomness in decision-making, because maximizing randomness is thought to be an optimal strategy in the game, according to game theory. While undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), subjects played matching pennies with either a human or computer opponent in each block, although in reality they played the game with the same computer algorithm under both conditions. The winning rate of each block was also manipulated. Both the opponent (human or computer), and the winning rate, independently affected subjects' block-wise entropy during the game. The fMRI results revealed that activity in the bilateral anterior insula was positively correlated with subjects' (not opponent’s) behavioral entropy during the game, which indicates that during an interpersonal competitive game, the anterior insula tracked how uncertain subjects' behavior was, rather than how uncertain subjects felt their opponent’s behavior was. Our results suggest that intuitive or automatic processes based on somatic markers may be a key to optimally adjusting behavioral strategies in competitive situations.
Recurrent hamstring injuries are a major problem in sports such as football. The aim of this paper was to use a clinical example to describe a treatment strategy for the management of recurrent hamstring injuries and examine the evidence for each intervention. A professional footballer sustained five hamstring injuries in a relatively short period of time. The injury was managed successfully with a seven-point programme-biomechanical assessment and correction, neurodynamics, core stability, eccentric strengthening, an overload running programme, injection therapies and stretching/relaxation. The evidence for each of these treatment options is reviewed. It is impossible to be definite about which aspects of the programme contributed to a successful outcome. Only limited evidence is available in most cases; therefore, decisions regarding the use of different treatment modalities must be made by using a combination of clinical experience and research evidence.
Autonomous vehicles (AVs) should reduce traffic accidents, but they will sometimes have to choose between two evils, such as running over pedestrians or sacrificing themselves and their passenger to save the pedestrians. Defining the algorithms that will help AVs make these moral decisions is a formidable challenge. We found that participants in six Amazon Mechanical Turk studies approved of utilitarian AVs (that is, AVs that sacrifice their passengers for the greater good) and would like others to buy them, but they would themselves prefer to ride in AVs that protect their passengers at all costs. The study participants disapprove of enforcing utilitarian regulations for AVs and would be less willing to buy such an AV. Accordingly, regulating for utilitarian algorithms may paradoxically increase casualties by postponing the adoption of a safer technology.
To study the relationship between board game playing and risk of subsequent dementia in the Paquid cohort.
No-limit Texas hold'em is the most popular form of poker. Despite AI successes in perfect-information games, the private information and massive game tree have made no-limit poker difficult to tackle. We present Libratus, an AI that, in a 120,000-hand competition, defeated four top human specialist professionals in heads-up no-limit Texas hold'em, the leading benchmark and long-standing challenge problem in imperfect-information game solving. Our game-theoretic approach features application-independent techniques: an algorithm for computing a blueprint for the overall strategy, an algorithm that fleshes out the details of the strategy for subgames that are reached during play, and a self-improver algorithm that fixes potential weaknesses that opponents have identified in the blueprint strategy.
The “gamification” of science has gained a lot of traction in recent years, and games that convey scientific concepts or themes are increasingly popular. While a number of existing games touch on microbiology, very few consider the beneficial (as opposed to the detrimental) aspects of microbes. We designed a board game called “Gut Check: The Microbiome Game” to fill this gap. The game is meant to be both educational as well as challenging and fun. Here we discuss the development of the game, some of the logistics of game development in this context, and offer suggestions for others thinking of similar projects.
Methylphenidate, modafinil, and caffeine for cognitive enhancement in chess: A double-blind, randomised controlled trial
- European neuropsychopharmacology : the journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology
- Published over 1 year ago
Stimulants and caffeine have been proposed for cognitive enhancement by healthy subjects. This study investigated whether performance in chess - a competitive mind game requiring highly complex cognitive skills - can be enhanced by methylphenidate, modafinil or caffeine. In a phase IV, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 39 male chess players received 2×200mg modafinil, 2×20mg methylphenidate, and 2×200mg caffeine or placebo in a 4×4 crossover design. They played twenty 15-minute games during two sessions against a chess program (Fritz 12; adapted to players' strength) and completed several neuropsychological tests. Marked substance effects were observed since all three substances significantly increased average reflection time per game compared to placebo resulting in a significantly increased number of games lost on time with all three treatments. Treatment effects on chess performance were not seen if all games (n=3059) were analysed. Only when controlling for game duration as well as when excluding those games lost on time, both modafinil and methylphenidate enhanced chess performance as demonstrated by significantly higher scores in the remaining 2876 games compared to placebo. In conjunction with results from neuropsychological testing we conclude that modifying effects of stimulants on complex cognitive tasks may in particular result from more reflective decision making processes. When not under time pressure, such effects may result in enhanced performance. Yet, under time constraints more reflective decision making may not improve or even have detrimental effects on complex task performance.
This Correspondence relates to the desciption of an optimized strategy for the detection of circulating cancer-related microRNA as discussed by Kim et al (J Mol Diagn 2012, 14:71-80).