The Mathematics of Card-shuffling
Francis Edward Su
Cornell University/Harvey Mudd College
March 2, 2000
Bailey Hall 201
Potluck dinner in the department common room at 6:30 PM.
In this talk we hope to motivate the recent (1992) result of Bayer and Diaconis that it takes 7 riffle shuffles to randomize a deck of cards. Where does the "7" come from? What does it mean to be "close to random"? What about perfect shuffles or other kinds of shuffles? How about decks with more cards? What mathematicatical ideas are involved in studying card-shuffling? We'll answer all these questions, and skill permitting, I'll even demonstrate a few card tricks that use the ideas above!
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