Games digital animals play

Winfried Just
Department of Mathematics, Ohio University

(October 11, 2005 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM)

Games digital animals play

Abstract

Game-theoretic models are extensively used in the study of animal behavior. These models are used to predict optimal strategies for a variety of animal interactions, such as fighting, foraging, or signaling. In order to be of predictive value, a strategy must be evolutionarily stable (abbreviated ESS), which means that a population of animals who follow an ESS must be resistant to invasion of mutants who follow a different strategy. The first part of this talk will give a very brief introduction to evolutionary game theory and the ESS concept. Then a new game-theoretic model will be introduced that makes predictions about which contestant (the likely winner or the likely loser) can be expected to initiate escalation in a contest. Next, computer simulation studies on whether the ESS's predicted for this game can actually evolve in a finite population that initially behaves randomly will be presented. Finally, some experiments about representing strategies in computer simulations will be reported, and the relevance of the findings for the study of the genotype-phenotype map will be discussed.