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Alistair: Agile S/D and Game Theory

Junilu Lacar

Joined: Feb 26, 2001
Posts: 4457

Just in case you drop in again:
I just saw "A Beautiful Mind" and read up a bit on John Nash and his theories about equilibrium and bargaining. It's very interesting how those mathematics can be applied to such things as auctions, international trade and even crime and punishment (the Prisoner's Dilemma). Is your view of S/D as a game related in any way to the mathematics?
Also, from my very limited understanding of what I've read so far, Nash's theories were applicable to non-cooperative games. However, Nash said that all cooperative games can be reduced(?)/degenerate to non-cooperative games. I'm just wondering if it might be possible to apply his theories of equilibrium and bargaining to S/D then. One of the first things that I thought of was the XP practice of having programmers "bid" on stories. Do you know of anybody who has used the Nash Bargaining in this or any other activity in S/D?
I'd really love to hear your thoughts on this...
[ March 08, 2002: Message edited by: Junilu Lacar ]

Junilu - [How to Ask Questions] [How to Answer Questions]
Mapraputa Is
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Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
To add some confusion . "Game" is a popular metaphor to explain lots of things. Eric Berne, for example, used it to explain human behavior (probably "interactions" would be a better term) in his famous book "Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships". Then, there is another book, "Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture", by Johan Huizinga. I do not know how popular/famous/influential it is in the USA, it was quite a cult book in Russia
But these are only metaphors, as I can say, not Game theory applications in strict mathematical sense.
Alistair Cockburn
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 21, 2002
Posts: 43
Hi, Junilu,
When I "play a game" (e.g. rock climbing, chess, boccia) I don't use mathematical theory to select my moves. Ditto software development. The point I'm after is that software development is a movement structure in the form of a game (as opposed to "in the form of model building / theatre / engineering / etc").
The fact that I don't have any idea about how to apply Nash's game theory mathematics to generate team software development moves, does not at all mean that someone else won't see a way - just not me, not yet.
Actually, I have a little note in my book about VOI vs VOF (value of information vs. value of flexibility). That will be an application of math to sw-dev game development, and i look forward to that.
Otherwise, I look forward to being surprised by someone else's application of game theory economics to sw devt.

Alistair Cockburn<br />acockburn@aol.com<br />Author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0201699699/ref=ase_electricporkchop" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Agile Software Development</a>
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
subject: Alistair: Agile S/D and Game Theory