Interactive Sessions - Kids' Tech University (KTU) at BGSU

February 16, 2013

**How can I choose the best strategy in a game? What’s my best move?**

An interactive session led by Dr. Craig Zirbel

*Professor Mathematics and Statistics, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green OH.*

An interactive session led by Dr. Craig Zirbel

People all over the world have played thinking games for thousands of years. Some of these are two-player games of pure strategy, like chess and tic-tac-toe, others are games of chance like lotteries and roulette, while others are a mixture of the two, like Monopoly and blackjack. Many of the games that kids play today on i-pods or phones are thinking games as well. We'll play some games and learn some ways to find the best moves. We'll see that some two-player games are now completely "solved" in the sense that we know what will happen if both players make the best moves throughout the game. We'll talk about how to play the lottery, and whether to play the lottery at all! We'll explore some mathematical ideas that are often used to analyze games, but which can also be used to solve a variety of real-world problems where you are looking for the best solution.

Dr. Zirbel is an applied mathematician at Bowling Green State University, specializing in applications of probability theory. He has been working on RNA bioinformatics for over a decade, which has forced him to learn lots of new mathematics and computer programming languages to describe how RNA molecules differ from one organism to the next. He works consistently at the interface between mathematics, statistics, computer science, and molecular biology, which is one place where many interesting things are going on these days. He also works with undergraduates on open problems in mathematics that are easy to state, but appear to be very hard to solve.

After the interactive session the students will be escorted by their parents to have lunch and then to the hands-on portion of the event. There the students will enjoy the experience of interacting with various exhibits from the Bowling Green State University community.