Brandeis Harvard MIT Northeastern Mathematics Colloquium

Thursday, December 07, 2017 at 4:30pm to 5:30pm


Persi Diaconis (Stanford)


Title: "The mathematics of making a mess"


Abstract: In joint work with Soumik Pal, we study a standard way of mixing cards; I call it 'smooshing'. Here, a deck of cards is spread on the table, mixed around with the two hands 'for a while' and then gathered up for dealing. This is used in poker tournaments and in Monte Carlo (for mixing 6 decks for Baccarat). Similar mixing schemes are used with dominoes and mahjong tiles. Natural questions are 'how long should cards be mixed?' and, 'if they are not mixed enough why aren't they random?'. the mathematics involves various fluid models and stochastic calculus. I will try to explain it all in 'mathematical English' for a general audience.


Reception in 2-290 at 4:00PM

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