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11. Projects to Ponder

Mathematical modeling is a subject which is best appreciated by doing. The trick is finding an interesting type of prediction to make or question to study, and then identifying sufficient data to build a reasonable model upon. Even if you are not a computer programmer, spreadsheet programs such as Microsoft Excel can provide an excellent environment to experiment with mathematical models.

In this section, I pose several interesting questions to which the modeling techniques presented in this book are applicable. To provide starting points, I include links to existing studies and data sets on the WWW. Web links are extremely perishable, so treat these only as an introduction. Any good search engine like www.google.com should help you find better sources after a few minutes toil. Happy modeling!

 I hope you have enjoyed this excerpt from Calculated Bets: Computers, Gambling, and Mathematical Modeling to Win!, by Steven Skiena, copublished by Cambridge University Press and the Mathematical Association of America. This is a book about a gambling system that works. It tells the story of how the author used computer simulation and mathematical modeling techniques to predict the outcome of jai-alai matches and bet on them successfully -- increasing his initial stake by over 500% in one year! His method can work for anyone: at the end of the book he tells the best way to watch jai-alai, and how to bet on it. With humor and enthusiasm, Skiena details a life-long fascination with the computer prediction of sporting events. Along the way, he discusses other gambling systems, both successful and unsuccessful, for such games as lotto, roulette, blackjack, and the stock market. Indeed, he shows how his jai-alai system functions just like a miniature stock trading system. Do you want to learn about program trading systems, the future of Internet gambling, and the real reason brokerage houses don't offer mutual funds that invest at racetracks and frontons? How mathematical models are used in political polling? The difference between correlation and causation? If you are curious about gambling and mathematics, odds are this is the book for you! This book is available in both hardcover and paperback.

Steve Skiena
2001-06-04