we moved on to game theory and information economics this week, which caused a visible buzz in the lecture theatre. we covered lemons, hawks vs doves and other standard problems. So, here is the famous monty hall problem which we opened up for discussion, and since answers to that are readily available,

enter the extremely cunning (and much more subtler variant), the Terminator Question.

"In the 1984 movie, The Terminator, a robotic killer is sent back through time to present day Los Angeles to kill Sarah Connor, who will one day give birth to John Connor, a hero who will lead humans to victory in a future war against machines.

After the Terminator is sent back through time by the machines to change history, John Connor sends a dedicated soldier, Kyle Reese, back through time to defend Sarah Connor.

The situation is as follows (details do not follow the movie precisely):

There are 3 Sarah Connors in L.A. Neither the Terminator nor Reese knows which is the “correct” Sarah Connor.
In any round, the Terminator can choose to target one Sarah Conner, and Reese can choose to defend one Sarah Connor.
Any undefended Sarah Connor who is targeted by the Terminator is killed. If the Terminator encounters Reese, both the Terminator and Reese are destroyed (Connor survives).
If, at any point, the Terminator successfully kills the true Sarah Connor, Reese will disappear as there will be no John Connor to send him back in time (there will be no need for a Terminator to go back in time either, but let’s forget the usual time paradoxes and just allow me this assumption).

What is Reese's optimal strategy?"


mich said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mich said...

don't understand what the problem is ... obvs reese has to go find da termie wherever he is and get down wit' el self-destrucion mutual. if all sarahs live the right one is bound to plus it don't matter if he becomes reese's pieces right? what's the problem?

edited 'cos i felt like being an ass