15-859 (21-801) Mathematical Games

General Information

This course will present a number of combinatorial games and puzzles, focusing on those for which there exist mathematical techniques for solving them. (See the list of topics below for more information.)

Class meetings are on Tuesday and Thursday from 1:30 to 2:50 in Wean 4615A. The instructors are Danny Sleator and Alan Frieze

There is a class mailing list that will be used sprodically. The address is sleator+games@cs.cmu.edu.

There is a blackboard site for this class, but it will be used only for recording of grades.


The grading for the class will be based on Homeowrks, a Midterm Exam, on a project, and on a final exam. Class participation is 15%, Homework is 30%, Midterm exam is 20% and the final/Project is 35%. Students have the option of doing a project, or taking the final exam, or both (only one will be counted toward your grade however). If you intend to do a project, you should submit a one-page project proposal describing the work you intend to do.

Important Dates


Here are some topics that will probably be covered. Look for more details here later. Also see the web page for the previous incarnation of this course.


Homework 1 Due January 20th in class.

Homework 2 Due February 4 in Wean 4128.

Homework 3 Due March 3 in class.

Midterm Exam

(pdf) (postscript)

The exam is due Tuesday March 22, 2005, in class Here are the instructions:

Do any four of the five problems. Please work alone. Please do not consult any material outside of that supplied in the class. Please feel free to contact the instructors for clarification.

Text Books

The following books have been put on reserve in the Engineering Library:

The following is the table of contents of Thomas Ferguson's on-line book on Game Theory. The entire text is available in PDF format in the links below.

Related Links

David Epstein's Combinatorial Game Theory page.

Thane Plambeck's pages studies Misere games

Mathematical Games Home Page
Danny Sleator
Last modified: Sat Apr 23 17:11:55 2005