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Tit for tat

Wired is running an article about how Tit for Tat was defeated in a Prisoner's Dilemma contest. For those of you unfamiliar with the Prisoner's Dilemma is, you can read more on it here.

Tit for Tat was a strategy that had done well before in this contest: the idea is that your first move is to cooperate, and there after you do whatever your opponent does. BitTorrent uses a variant of this to determine who you exchange files with as you're downloading.

The winning team used a strategy similar to that of the MIT Blackjack Team or a bike racing team like US Postal: send in multiple players into the contest and then have most of your players sacrifice themselves to boost the score of your leader(s). The hard problem that the Southampton team had to solve was getting their own players to recognize each other.

Of course, now that other teams are aware of the Southampton strategy, they can try and send in agents that will impersonate the Southampton entries, turning this into a Iocaine powder problem.

Comments (2)

Jay:

enjoying copying links over from /. today? =)

kwc Author Profile Page:

I read the Tit for Tat article last night, but I didn't have time to post, and the Google search was on just about every news site this morning. When I finally checked Slashdot this morning I did have a "D'oh" moment.

Sadly, it's getting fairly easy to predict at least three of the /. links everyday. Usually they appear on BoingBoing/Blogdex/etc... about 1-2 days in advance. Who needs to be a /. subscriber to see the posts early when you can just go to any of those sites and see them there even earlier?

So screw Slashdot! Slashdot is so 2002. I at least put effort into my copying. People send them text to paste onto their frontpage that they don't even bother to spellcheck or validate the links for. Trained monkeys! Trained monkeys!

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