Applications of mathematics for the design and analysis of games and puzzles

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10
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3answers
285 views

How to sample a uniform random polyomino?

A polyomino is formed by joining finitely many unit squares edge to edge. It may be regarded as a finite subset of the regular square tiling with a connected interior. In particular, for us, ...
29
votes
2answers
632 views

$x_1 = 2$, $x_{n + 1} = {{x_n(x_n + 1)}\over2}$, what can we say about $x_n \text{ mod }2$?

This question was asked on MathStackexchange here, but there was no answer, so I am asking it here. Let$$x_1 = 2, \quad x_{n + 1} = {{x_n(x_n + 1)}\over2}.$$What can we say about the behavior of $x_n ...
4
votes
0answers
86 views

Combinatorial fairness property in division of goods

Given $n$ agents, and $m$ items where $v_i(g) \geq 0$ is the value of item $g$ for agent $i$, does there always exist a partition $A_1, ..., A_n$ of the $m$ items into $n$ sets s.t. for all $i, j \in \...
4
votes
2answers
230 views

Separating Heavier from the Lighter Balls

This Question was originally posted Here, and received no significant progress so far. I wanted to post it here as well, to see what the people of mathoverflow think about it. I think we are ...
5
votes
1answer
215 views

How many convex shapes can be made with the pieces of the Stomachion?

Tangrams are a well-known dissection of the square into seven convex polygons. One fun mathematical question is: how many convex rearrangements of the seven pieces are there? Answer: there are 12 ...
70
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21answers
18k views

Examples of math hoaxes/interesting jokes published on April Fool's day?

What are examples of math hoaxes/interesting jokes published on April Fool's day? For a start P=NP.
3
votes
1answer
45 views

Complexity class of matrix generalization of knapsack problem

Let $n$ be a natural number, $u_+,v_+,u_-,v_-$ be real or complex column vectors of length $n$, and $M_1,M_2,\ldots,M_k$ be a finite collection of $n\times n$ real or complex matrices. Consider the ...
3
votes
0answers
76 views

Graph adjacency grouping with geometric criteria

I start with a list of adjacent tetrahedra, where there are tight seals to one another along faces for two tetrahedra that are adjacent. The vertices belonging to these faces for both tetrahedra are ...
1
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0answers
64 views

Completely incongruent box partitions

Let $B$ be a rectangular box with corners in $\mathbb{Z}^d$ and sides parallel to the axes. A completely incongruent partition of $B$ is a partition into $d$-dimensional boxes, each of whose integer ...
20
votes
3answers
567 views

Evaluating an integral using real methods

This is a bit of recreational integration. The following, rather attractive integral is quite straightforward via residues: $$\int_0^1 x^{-x}(1-x)^{x-1}\sin \pi x\,\mathrm{d}x=\frac{\pi}{e}$$ ...
11
votes
1answer
236 views

Have “sturdy squares” been studied before?

Over on PPCG I've just made a question that involves arranging the numbers 1 to 9 on a 3 by 3 grid such that every 2 by 2 subgrid has the same sum. I'm calling such 3 by 3 grids and their N by N ...
5
votes
1answer
163 views

Intersection of rotating regular polygons

This question has a recreational flavor, but may not be entirely uninteresting. Let $P_k$ be a unit-radius regular polygon of $k$ sides, and $P_n$ a unit-radius regular polygon of $n \ge k$ sides. ...
0
votes
1answer
181 views

Definition of “Expected/Unexpected Event”

Background of my question is Martin Gardner's "unexpected hanging" paradoxon, which has once again be the subject of an article in a popular-scientific magazin (this time because this year it has been ...
18
votes
0answers
482 views

Human Knot game [duplicate]

In the popular game "Human Knot", a group of people stands in a circle and each person grabs another person's hands at random (one with the left hand and one with the right hand). The goal is to ...
30
votes
1answer
2k views

“The Two Sheriffs” puzzle

This puzzle is taken from the book Mathematical puzzles: a connoisseur's collection by P. Winkler. Two sheriffs in neighboring towns are on the track of a killer, in a case involving eight ...
6
votes
1answer
173 views

Compiling self-referential forms

Fix $1\leq d\in\mathbb{N}$ and set $D:=\{0,1,\ldots,d-1\}$. Consider the system of equations \begin{equation} x_i=c_i + \sum_{j\in D}\delta_{x_j,i} \end{equation} with $c_i\in D$ given and $x_i\in D$ ...
2
votes
2answers
203 views

Websites for Math Shopping [closed]

I was wondering if anyone knows about good websites or stores to buy math related products. On etsy there are normal distribution plushes and famous mathematicians in coasters. However when I search ...
8
votes
2answers
199 views

Are sums of 0-1 Pareto efficient vectors Pareto efficient?

Does there exist $m,n\ge1$, an $m \times n$ matrix $A$, and a vector $x \in \mathbb{R}^n$ such that: The entries of $A$ are $\in \{0, 1\}$. For all pairs of columns $u, v$ of $A$ the entries of $u - ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

Is it possible to formulate the axiom of choice as the existence of a survival strategy?

Consider the following situation: There is an infinite set $G$ of giraffes. A lion comes and announces a set $C$ of all possible colours and an infinite cardinal $\kappa$. The hungry lion ...
6
votes
3answers
481 views

sum of binary and ternary digits

A problem in group theory (indices of imprimitive groups) gives rise to the following conjectures in number theory. Suppose a positive integer $n$ has binary and ternary expansions $n=\sum_{k\...
4
votes
2answers
289 views

Magic squares with specific properties

For what $n \geq 3$ does there exist an $n \times n$ matrix such that: All entries are in $(0, 1)$. Each row and column sums to $1$. Aside from the rows and columns, no other subsets of the entries ...
25
votes
1answer
896 views

Bouncing a ball down the stairs

In a nutshell, the question is whether it can be faster to bounce a ball down an infinite flight of stairs than to bounce it down a ramp with the same slope. To be more specific: this is a $2$ ...
14
votes
0answers
357 views

Knight's tours in higher dimensions

I wonder if Knight's Tours have been explored in higher dimensions, using the following definition of a knight move. In dimension $d=2$, the knight moves left/right and forward/back one step and two ...
1
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0answers
183 views

Knight's metric: ellipse and parabola

Knight's metric is a metric on $\mathbb{Z}^2$ as the minimum number of moves a chess knight would take to travel from $x$ to $y\in\mathbb{Z}^2$. What does a parabola (or an ellipse) became with this ...
5
votes
1answer
477 views

Lights out game

I would like to ask about the game Lights Out for a square nxn. In http://mathworld.wolfram.com/LightsOutPuzzle.html there is a list of the number of solutions to the game, and the number of solutions ...
0
votes
0answers
163 views

Breaking a number in two different ways

I am interested in knowing if there is a name for this process: Suppose I have positive reals $a_1,a_2,\ldots, a_k, b_1,b_2,\ldots, b_m$ such that $\sum_{i=1}^k a_i = \sum_{j=1}^m b_j.$ Then, I can ...
3
votes
2answers
264 views

Systems similar to Erdős numbers?

As many mathematicians know, each person has an Erdős number (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erd%C5%91s_number). That is, Erdős himself has Erdős number zero, each person who published anything ...
5
votes
0answers
552 views

f(2013) = 2014? [closed]

I wonder if there is some "surprising" function $f(\;)$ that, when input $2013$, produces $2014$? What I have in mind is more in line with the Lewis Carroll computation involving $137$ and $992$ that ...
20
votes
9answers
2k views

Recreational mathematics: where to search?

I am not sure I can strictly define recreational mathematics. But we all feel what it is about: puzzles, problems you can ask your mathematical friends, problems that will bother them for a couple of ...
1
vote
0answers
145 views

Multiplicative semi-magic squares

Magic squares (Wiki) and Multiplicative magic squares (Wiki) are famous. In this question, let us suppose that we do not consider the diagonals of multiplicative magic squares. Let us call such ...
16
votes
1answer
619 views

a game on sets of reals

A 2 player game on $\mathcal{P}(\mathbb{R})$: Players take turns playing uncountable sets of reals. Each play must be a subset of the previously played set. Player 1 wins if the intersection of all ...
2
votes
1answer
120 views

Increasing sequence of normal magic squares

The questions below are motivated by pure curiosity. I heard of the first question from my former advisor. I have no idea how difficult they are, since I have no experience with magic squares. By a ...
3
votes
0answers
534 views

sum of digits in different bases

Given a natural number, What is the maximal natural number below it, whose sums of digits in base 10 and base 2 are the same? Is there a clever algorithm to do this aside from the brute force search? ...
5
votes
2answers
789 views

easter problem - egg shapes

Inspired by an exceptionally silly article in today's newspaper I pose the following "egg parametrization problem". Give an explicit function $ f(x,y,t) : \mathbb{R}^2\times I \to \mathbb{R}$ such ...
15
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5answers
2k views

Are there results in “Digit Theory”?

Results about numbers that are related to their decimal representation are usually confined to recreational mathematics. There I have seen mainly questions about individual numbers, like finding a ...
13
votes
1answer
607 views

Randomly switching street lights, in a square city

This is a combinatorics-probability question, best stated however in "recreational" terms. Imagine a $N\times N$ city, meaning that we have $N$ horizontal streets, and $N$ vertical streets. At each ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Proving a determinant = 0

The two most elementary ways to prove an N x N matrix's determinant = 0 are: A) Find a row or column that equals the 0 vector. B) Find a linear combination of rows or columns that equals the 0 ...
14
votes
3answers
762 views

Smallest square to wrap a cylinder

Suppose you need to gift-wrap a cylinder (e.g., a can of tennis balls, or a large candle) of height $h$ and radius $r$. Here wrap is the natural sense of covering the surface area of the cylinder ...
21
votes
1answer
4k views

Reconstructing the argument that yields Graham's number

Graham's number achieved a kind of cult status, thanks to Martin Gardner, as the largest finite number appearing in a mathematical proof. (It may no longer hold that record, but that is not my concern ...
1
vote
1answer
167 views

2D visualization of sum of divisors using Cantor pairing

Related to Gerhard's question about ascii plots. On the SeqFan mailing list was suggested to plot an integer sequence this way: Let $F(x,y)= (x+y) (x+y+1)/2+y$ be the Cantor pairing. To plot an ...
5
votes
0answers
106 views

Does there exist $a,n \in \mathbb{Z}^+$, where $n \geq 2$, such that $a, an, an^2,an^3,\ldots,an^5$ are all palindromes in base 10?

Question: Does there exist $a,n \in \mathbb{Z}^+$, where $n \geq 2$, such that $$a, an, an^2,an^3,\ldots,an^5$$ are all palindromes in base 10? We see that $a=1$ and $n=11$ give rise to $$1, 11, 121,...
38
votes
8answers
4k views

A sudden smiley? :-)

This is a vague question, and I will no doubt be (properly!) chastised for posing it. I would like to generate a set $S$ of points in $\mathbb{R}^3$—$|S|$ finite or infinite—which has the ...
1
vote
1answer
144 views

Nonexistence of high dimensional perfect magic hypercubes of fixed side length

I apologize in advance if this question is not of sufficient level. Define a perfect magic hypercube of side length $k$ and dimension $n$ to be one in which the cells are filled with consecutive ...
4
votes
3answers
759 views

Generalized tic-tac-toe

We begin with $2n+1$ cards, each with a distinct number from $-n$ to $+n$ on it, face up in between the two players of the game. The players take turns selecting a card and keeping it. The first ...
0
votes
1answer
328 views

Bounding a signed sum of complex numbers [closed]

Let $z_i \in \mathbb{C}\:$ for $i=1,\dots, n\;$ be complex numbers, all with absolute value $|z_i|\le 1\;$. Prove (or disprove) that there exists a choice of signs $s_i \in \{\pm 1\}$ such that $$\...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Looking for a “scientific” application of a recreational puzzle.

First of all the puzzle. A barman's got 15 glasses which are initially somehow divided into several stacks. The barman repeats the following process a thousand times. He takes the top glass from ...
43
votes
1answer
2k views

Exploding primes

Suppose every prime $n$ could "explode" once. An explosion results in $\lfloor \alpha \ln n \rfloor$ particles being uniformly distributed over the integers in a range $n \pm \lfloor \beta \ln n \...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Covering a Cube with a Square

Suppose you are given a single unit square, and you would like to completely cover the surface of a cube by cutting up the square and pasting it onto the cube's surface. Q1. What is the largest ...
41
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34answers
19k views

Examples of interesting false proofs

According to Wikipedia False proof For example the reason validity fails may be a division by zero that is hidden by algebraic notation. There is a striking quality of the mathematical fallacy: as ...
7
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1answer
355 views

Generalizing a square wheel to a body rolling on a surface

A square wheel rolling on a catenary road maintains the wheel center at a fixed height, a well-known construction previously discussed on MO (e.g., "Generalizing square wheels rolling on inverted ...