Understanding Cooperation with the Spatial Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma

Not exactly a snappy way to start my new blog, but…

I just finished reading Critical Mass by Phillip Ball and one of the topics discussed was the iterated prisoner’s dilemma. I had implemented a Spatial IPD as part of the Generation5 JDK and more recently as part of the C# port, ‘Wintermute’.

Prior to reading Critical Mass though, I saw the SIPD as an interesting cellular automata implementation of a famous game theory exercise but never fully experimented with the model’s insights. In his book, Ball detailed how IPD can be used to show how cooperation is evolved as being more beneficial than selfish behaviour. Even more fascinating was the IPD’s ability to show how more cooperative strategies are more beneficial, until you get to a completely cooperative world — at which point, a very selfish strategy can quickly take advantage of the “naivety” of the world.

I decided to expand my code to explore this further to see if I could replicate this.

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