Zornow wins Lawrence Economics evolutionary game tournament

Many of us just returned from Björklunden, where we spent the weekend talking about game theory, outsourcing at Lawrence and elsewhere, and the economies of Monterrey, Bangalore, Seattle, and Johannesburg. And we enjoyed late (?) winter in Door county, as well as Georgi’s guitar playing and Sunghun’s piano music.

We also held the first Lawrence Economics evolutionary game tournament. This competition follows in the tradition started by Robert Axelrod, who organized a computer tournament in the 1970’s to see what kind of behavior will be most successful in an evolutionary game. Participants entered strategies (described as algorithms), and each such entry became an agent in Axelrod’s world. These agents met randomly and played the prisoners’ dilemma game. Our competition also featured random encounters and the prisoners’ dilemma game.

Though many were betting on strategies such as “sneaky” and “defector,” in the end Oliver Zornow’s “foolfor7” took the $25 prize, to be awarded at Monday’s Econ TeaBA. “Foolfor7” started alone but reproduced faster than any other strategy, and avoided being exploited with its trademark “fool me 7 times, shame on you, fool me 8 times, shame on me” approach to life in a squareful of pixels. We used the fun, convenient and easy to learn Netlogo software to run the simulation. If you’d like to play with the parameters and check out how the various strategies would fare in different populations, download the free netlogo software and open this Netlogo file (download the zip file and double click on it to unpack it).

Free and fun agent based model simulator