Wednesday, November 02, 2011

John Nash in person

Went to listen to John Nash’s seminar at our university on Monday.  He is, of course, the famous mathematician known for his work on game theory, and also because of the movie “A Beautiful Mind”, loosely based on his life. 

This time he discussed some of his recent papers which tried to explain how seemingly cooperative, even altruistic, behaviour can arise out of self-interest in game theory.  During the question and answer period, I asked him, based on his work, whether he believed that there were no truly altruistic behaviour, that all such behaviour can be explained by motivations of self-interest.  He answered at length, at one point mentioning the economic and market situation in Hong Kong.  Unfortunately, I was sitting too far from him to hear his answer very clearly.  But I believe he was rather critical of some of the things that he observed in the market. 

It was quite an experience to hear him speak, even though much of the mathematics was quite difficult to follow.  

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