RANDOM RULES AND THE ANCIENT HISTORY OF SIMULATION

Arkady Shemyakin
University of St. Thomas 
Friday, October 4, 2019 - 5:30pm to 6:30pm
Vincent Hall 16

Modern approaches to simulation, involving Monte Carlo methods and randomized procedures of decision-making, are usually dated back to the mid-20th century and the arrival of the computer era. Deeper history goes back to the 19th and even 18th centuries and involves such devices as Galton’s board and Buffon’s needle. However, one can argue that long before the invention of computers, older devices such as dice and their predecessors have been effectively used for games and divination. The idea of this paper is to review the use of ancient randomizing devices to trace the history of simulation and random rules of decision-making. Special attention will be paid to some contemporary cultures, which have preserved some unique elements of their ancient history: native cultures of the Americas, the Celtic civilizations of Ireland and Scotland, and the indigenous peoples of Northern and Central Asia (Altai and Siberia).Bio: https://www.stthomas.edu/mathematics/faculty/arkady-shemyakin.html