Hollywood movies are obsessed with outrunning explosions and outrunning crashing alien spaceships. For explosions the movies give the optimal (but unusable) solution: run straight away. For crashing alien spaceships they give the same advice, but in this case it is wrong. We demonstrate the correct angle to flee.
Running from a crashing alien spaceship, Prometheus 2012, copyright 20th Century Fox
StarCraft and StarCraft II are very popular real time strategy games. The core of these games is the mining of resources, and conversion of those resources into specialized military units. Idealized fighting and predator/prey relations have long been analyzed in terms of differential equations. We use the differential equation formalism (in particular Lanchester’s equations of 1916) to discuss expected game outcomes and how, in principle, one can derive a StarCraft strategy that complements search, simulation or more classic artificial intelligence techniques.
I recently had the pleasure of finding a copy of the manual for my favorite calculator. I know it is incredibly nerdy to have a favorite calculator (and even more nerdy to read the manual), but it really got me thinking. Continue reading The Joy of Calculation