Part of the Mathematics glossary:

Game theory is a branch of mathematics with direct applications in economics, sociology, and psychology. The theory was first devised by John Von Neumann . Later contributions were made by John Nash, A. W. Tucker, and others.

Game-theory research involves studies of the interactions among people or groups of people. Because people make use of an ever-increasing number and variety of technologies to achieve desired ends, game theory can be indirectly applied in practical pursuits such as engineering, information technology, and computer science.

So-called games can range from simple personal or small group encounters or problems to major confrontations between corporations or superpowers. One of the principal aims of game theory is to determine the optimum strategy for dealing with a given situation or confrontation. This can involve such goals as maximizing one's gains, maximizing the probability that a specific goal can be reached, minimizing one's risks or losses, or inflicting the greatest possible damage on adversaries.

This was last updated in September 2005
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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