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Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Mathematical model reveals best auction strategy," by Justin Mullins. New Scientist, 3 May 2003.

Zvika Neeman, an economist at the Center for the Study of Rationality at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has "created a mathematical model that simulates the outcome of an auction regardless of the actual valuations that the bidders start with," the article states. Mullins provides some examples of factors influencing bidders and of possible outcomes and reports that Neeman concludes that a first-time seller should choose the English auction method instead of the sealed-bid Dutch method (in which the seller initially sets a high price and progressively lowers it until a bidder claims the item) or instead of selling an item at a fixed price.

--- Annette Emerson

American Mathematical Society