News from Hamilton College

Perkins Publishes Chip-Firing Research


David Perkins
David Perkins
“The length distribution for burn-off chip-firing games on complete graphs,” co-authored by Visiting Assistant Professor of Computer Science David Perkins, was published in the September issue of the Bulletin of the Institute of Combinatorics and its Applications.
Complex systems that arise from the interactions of individual bits (such as traffic jams created by individual drivers) can be modeled by chip-firing games, in which piles of chips are moved around on a network of nodes and edges.
Perkins and co-author P. Mark Kayll of the University of Montana studied such games on complete graphs; in the process, they discovered a combinatorial proof of a complicated identity in probability.
“The identity has been proven before, but never by a method like ours,” Perkins said.

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