About a month ago, Tim Gowers described a fun potential new polymath project. Here is the basic setup:
Say are -sided dice, i.e. each takes values in . We say that beats if . are intransitive if beats , beats and beats .
It is somewhat counterintuitive that this can happen and I’ve used this paradox while introducing probability to undergraduates. Now the question:
are randomly chosen. If beats , beats , what is the likelihood that beats ? Experiments suggest that the probability tends to . The goal of the polymath project is to prove this.
Since suggesting the problem, the intransitive dice project has quickly gathered steam and is now onto to its 5th post. (If you haven’t followed a polymath project before, each post discusses the current state and has several comments where people collaboratively make progress on the questions being studied. This particular project is one that theoretical computer scientists could easily contribute to and it’s not too late to jump in! At this point, it looks like they are looking for a local central limit theorem for a random walk on with precise bounds on error terms.
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