Parrondo's paradox

A tour from thermodynamics to surprises in a casino.

F. Alberto Grunbaum
University of Calitornia at Berkeley

The search for a "perpetual motion machine" started a long time ago. It reappears in a disguised form in one of the famous Feynman lecture notes of the 1960's. Close to year 2000 J. Parrondo found some troubles with Feynman's arguments and this evolved into a remarkably simple probabilistic paradox that people are trying to illustrate in economics, the social sciences, biology and other areas.   I will discuss a formulation that can be explained using very basic linear algebra at an undergraduate level. Proper analysis of this situation in the quantum case remains a challenging open problem.


2017-04-11 - download