Bones and Books

by Roland Minton on January 26, 2015

Dave books

The second floor of Trexler is haunted by intermittent clattering sounds! Actually, there is no need for a paranormal investigation, it’s just Drs. Taylor (Dave) and Childers (Adam) playing dice games. For Dave, this was partly research for his book The Mathematics of Games: An Introduction to Probability, recently published by CRC Press. The book covers standard introductory probability topics like permutations and combinations, binomial and normal distributions, expected value, and so on, plus more advanced topics like Markov chains, game theory, and generating functions. However, the focus is always on games: blackjack, poker, Yahtzee, Monopoly, and numerous others. For example, as we try to untangle the calculations needed to identify the best Monopoly properties (and you’ll get no spoiler alert here; buy the book!), we suddenly find ourselves learning about Markov chains. There is never a question of why we need the mathematics, because the mathematics always appears in the context of the analysis of a game. Students love Dr. Taylor for his enthusiasm about mathematics and life, and this comes through in spades (sorry) in the book. Meanwhile, Adam has the dice out again, and the research continues!

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