Math in the News
Game Theory and Cooperation Get Everyone A's
Students in three of John Hopkins professor Peter Fröhlich's computer science classes pulled a game theoretic coup by boycotting their final and, thereby, all earning A's thanks to a grading curve loophole.
Fröhlich had long used—without mishap—a curve that awarded the top grade on a final an A and adjusted all other scores accordingly. Of course his students had never succeeded before in pulling off the first of the two Bayesian Nash equilibria New York Times "Economix" blogger Catherine Rampell identified in her post about the stunt: "Equilibrium #1 is that no one takes the test."
Ensuring the cooperation needed to maintain the equilibrium took effort and a variety of technological and social media tools, but, Rampell says,
Even more impressive to me than the students' cooperation is the professor's decision to honor the original grading system and give everyone an A. I guess he knew, though, that he'd made a poorly designed grading system and that the students had outsmarted it.