A New Way Out of the Prisoner's Dilemma: Cheat

Software agents use a strategy of covert collusion to win game theory championship; auctioneers beware

3 min read

10 November 2004--Within a certain obsessive breed of computer scientists, the geek equivalent of the World Series is a little known tournament called the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma Competition.

Academics from around the globe struggle to devise the best strategy for tackling one of the fundamental problems in game theory, Prisoner's Dilemma, and then build artificially intelligent software "robots" to play their strategies in a competitive round-robin tournament. As it turns out, real-world situations from live auctions to nuclear standoffs can bear striking resemblance to this very simple game, and so it was no small matter when this year the longstanding champion of Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma had to settle for silver.

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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