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How to Make the Most of a Shared Meal: Plan the Last Bite First

by Lionel Levine and Katherine E. Stange

Year of Award: 2013

Award: Halmos-Ford

Publication Information: The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 119, 2012, pp. 550-565

Summary: (Adapted from the MathFest 2013 Prizes and Awards Booklet) In "the Ethiopian Dinner Game," two players take turns eating morsels from a common platter. The authors prove that a Nash equilibrium for players who are not cooperating, but know their companions preferences, is to eat the opponent's least favorite remaining morsel. Working backwards completes the strategy.

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About the Author: (From the MathFest 2013 Prizes and Awards Booklet)

Lionel Levine is an assistant professor at Cornell University. He lives in Ithaca, NY with wife Karola and two kids (age 1 and 2). He is proud of teaching Peano arithmetic to his son ("tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, the day after the day after tomorrow ... ")

Katherine E. Stange received her Ph.D. under Joseph H. Silverman at Brown University, despite an interruption to volunteer in Russia and Tibet, and is now an assistant professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder. When she's not thinking about number theory, she enjoys bicycling up mountains with her husband and tricycling along bike paths with her young son.

Subject classification(s): Discrete Mathematics | Game Theory
Publication Date: 
Monday, August 19, 2013