Mathematical Rock, Paper, Scissors Public Comment

Posted January 29, 2019 by Joshua neubert

Everyone knows the classic game of Rock, Paper, Scissors (RPS). It seems like it has been around since before time itself. Part of the fun of RPS is in the challenge to try and find patterns in what your opponents will throw. If they do rock three times in a row, will they throw rock a forth?

Now, the Institute of Competition Sciences (ICS) is exploring putting a new educational spin on this game. Instead of just using your logic to try to predict your opponent’s next throw, you will use math. In this new “Mathematical RPS” two teams will compete against each other in a match of 200 RPS rounds. Each team will present three equations at the beginning of the match defining values for Rock, Paper, and Scissors based on the round number (1 to 200). The other team then tries to beat their opponent by determining the functions they used at the beginning of the match. The team that determines the functions earliest, and who can use them to predict what their opponent will throw in later rounds will score more points and win the match.

ICS is opening the opportunity for public comment on the rules for the Mathematical RPS tournaments until February 28th. We look forward to collaborating with our community make a great new educational opportunity to engage and excite students about math. Our goal is to launch the tournaments online with the 2019-20 school year. Please take a moment to review the draft rules posted in this PDF, and provide input through our online Google Form to help us make the best educational RPS challenge possible.