Schrödinger’s Trout?

Our reader Henry has sent us this interesting item, in which we learn that fishes and quanta have more in common than we thought.


  1. Whitewall says

    In the term “game theory” I don’t understand the use of the descriptive word “game”. Is it a noun or adjective? The uses and meanings I understand from the article as related to different fields. But why the word “game”?

    Posted April 4, 2016 at 2:26 pm | Permalink
  2. Robert,

    Wikipedia to the rescue:

    Posted April 4, 2016 at 2:42 pm | Permalink
  3. Whitewall says

    Thanks Henry.

    Posted April 4, 2016 at 4:29 pm | Permalink
  4. Here is a link to a more concise response to your question. If you are merely asking for the origin of the term “game theory” (which BTW is also referred to as the “theory of games”), then the following extract from the above-linked source may suffice:

    Introduction to Game Theory

    What is Game Theory?

    Game theory is a branch of applied mathematics and economics that studies strategic situations where there are several stakeholders, each with different goals, whose actions can affect one another.

    Although it has been applied to complex business issues and military strategy, game theory reveals its card-game origins through its name and terminology. For example, a game is any situation where multiple players can affect the outcome, a player is a stakeholder, a move or option is an action a player can take and, at the end of the game, the payoff for each player is the outcome.

    In general, the value of game theory lies in understanding the interactions and likely outcomes when the end result is dependent on the actions of others who have potentially conflicting motives. Game theory’s value to business lies in allowing structured analysis of complex multi-player issues including the identification of a business’ best attainable outcome, threats and promises available to different players and the prediction of the likely actions and reactions of other players.

    I have bolded the key phrase.

    Posted April 4, 2016 at 4:35 pm | Permalink
  5. Whitewall says

    Henry, thanks for “bolding” the key parts. That fixed it for me. This is evidently a fiercely competitive field of study and methodology.

    Posted April 4, 2016 at 4:55 pm | Permalink
  6. Robert, et al.,

    I am not a game theory expert, though I was aware of John von Neumann’s seminal work in the field. In reading the article from which I quoted in my preceding comment, I came across the citing of game theory’s major success in securing the avoidance of the apocalypse beyond Y2K:

    Further adding to the acclaim of game theory, another Nobel Prize was awarded to game theorists, Robert Aumann and Thomas Schelling, in 2005. Schelling used game theory in his 1960 book The Strategy of Conflict to explain why credible threats of nuclear annihilation from the U.S. and the former Soviet Union were counterbalancing through mutually assured destruction [MAD] and therefore were not likely to be used. He also argued that the ability to retaliate was more useful than the ability to withstand an attack.

    You may recall the so-called “MAD” stand-off strategy has been discussed in these pages before on several occasions.

    Posted April 4, 2016 at 5:26 pm | Permalink
  7. Whitewall says

    A very broad brush?

    Posted April 4, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Permalink
  8. Kevin Kim says

    Bien sûr que c’était une équipe de Français qui a trouvé des liens entre les électrons et les poissons, car les Français savent que tout ce qui existe a à faire avec la bonne cuisine!

    Posted April 4, 2016 at 6:11 pm | Permalink
  9. JK says

    Aside from (seems like its becoming a regular rite) another computer meltdown … and the pollen …

    Couple of “pulls” from TBH’s article

    [Y]ou have to assume that particles have positions that are spread out in space, and that they only have some probability of appearing where you think they’re going to be at any point in time. If you work with spread-out probabilities instead of with specific positions, you can exactly predict.

    Game theory doesn’t seem to have anything to do with any of that. In general, it looks at how a bunch of agents make decisions to get closer to whatever goal they have in mind. That could mean people (hopefully) working together in traffic, or it could be people working against each other like they do in a board game.

    That stuff I consider Malcolm, just might be [somewhat] applicable/interesting to mix in with yours and Jacques’s conversation.

    Sort of in a ‘Living Systems Analysis’ kinda way mind.


    Of course there is that other pesky paragraph;

    [Y]ou’re analysing what all of the different agents (neurons, neural networks, chemical reactions, synaptic transfer, etc) are doing on average – so it might readily apply to people in traffic, but it’d be a lot harder to apply to a single game of Mind.

    Count that as JK’s contribution to the ant trail. A “bee dance” if you will.

    But … my interest is piqued.

    Posted April 4, 2016 at 7:52 pm | Permalink
  10. Fer shur, Kevin. The French are the ultimate foodies.

    Posted April 4, 2016 at 8:46 pm | Permalink
  11. Malcolm says

    Looks like you’ve been looking in on that chat I’m having with Jacques, JK.

    That bee dance is just as good an example of natural intentionality as an ant trail. (In fact it’s probably better, now that I think about it.)

    Posted April 4, 2016 at 8:50 pm | Permalink
  12. JK says

    Interesting article, JK, but I wasn’t able to tease out its relevance to the current thread here. Perhaps it’s an Arkansas thing …

    Well Henry … what about now?

    “Relevance” I mean.

    Posted April 5, 2016 at 4:21 pm | Permalink
  13. How many guesses do I get, JK?

    Posted April 5, 2016 at 5:33 pm | Permalink