[SystemSafety] John Nash has died

From: Peter Bernard Ladkin < >
Date: Mon, 25 May 2015 08:45:49 +0200


Hash: SHA256

.... in a traffic accident. Very sad.


Nash was one of the major developers of game theory after John von Neumann (who wrote about it first with Oskar Morgenstern in The Theory of Games and Economic Behavior in 1944 (second edition 1947). Wikipedia suggests this approach was introduced in a paper of von Neumann from 1928.

von Neumann and Morgenstern didn't win the Nobel Memorial Prize. It took fifty years until John Harsanyi, John Nash and Reinhard Selten won it in 1994 for their work in game theory.

John Harsanyi, also Hungarian, worked at Berkeley and was in fact a member of the Logic Group in which I did my PhD, but I never met him. He died in 2000 aged 80.

Reinhard Selten taught at Bielefeld and I believe is still on the board of the ZiF research/conference center.

Game theory has application to safety-critical systems, although not yet very much. It is fundamental to decision theory. Both allow us to analyse how operators in safety-critical systems are choosing to act and what the consequences are, and I have done so fruitfully in some cases.

The games considered by Nash & co were mostly competitive games (so-called zero-sum, in which when one party wins another loses). There are also cooperative games, studied in his PhD thesis by David Lewis (Convention, Harvard U.P., 1969). Thomas Schelling applied game theory most notably to political and social questions (The Strategy of Conflict, Harvard U.P. 1960/1980).

PBL Prof. Peter Bernard Ladkin, Faculty of Technology, University of Bielefeld, 33594 Bielefeld, Germany Je suis Charlie
Tel+msg +49 (0)521 880 7319 www.rvs.uni-bielefeld.de

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