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In game theory, the Nash equilibrium, named after the mathematician John Nash, is the most common way to define the solution of a non-cooperative game involving two or more players. In a Nash equilibrium, each player is assumed to know the equilibrium strategies of the other players, and no one has anything to gain by changing only one's own strategy. The principle of Nash equilibrium dates back to the time of Cournot, who in 1838 applied it to competing firms choosing outputs.
|A solution concept in game theory|
|Subset of||Rationalizability, Epsilon-equilibrium, Correlated equilibrium|
|Superset of||Evolutionarily stable strategy, Subgame perfect equilibrium, Perfect Bayesian equilibrium, Trembling hand perfect equilibrium, Stable Nash equilibrium, Strong Nash equilibrium, Cournot equilibrium|
|Proposed by||John Forbes Nash Jr.|
|Used for||All non-cooperative games|
If each player has chosen a strategy – an action plan based on what has happened so far in the game – and no one can increase one's own expected payoff by changing one's strategy while the other players keep theirs unchanged, then the current set of strategy choices constitutes a Nash equilibrium.
If two players Alice and Bob choose strategies A and B, (A, B) is a Nash equilibrium if Alice has no other strategy available that does better than A at maximizing her payoff in response to Bob choosing B, and Bob has no other strategy available that does better than B at maximizing his payoff in response to Alice choosing A. In a game in which Carol and Dan are also players, (A, B, C, D) is a Nash equilibrium if A is Alice's best response to (B, C, D), B is Bob's best response to (A, C, D), and so forth.
Nash showed that there is a Nash equilibrium, possibly in mixed strategies, for every finite game.