Monthly Archives: April 2007

MLB Simulator

From a link that was in the paper mentioned in the previous post, I started to read about RIOT, the MLB simulator at Berkeley. Here is an excerpt from their page:

Calculating the clinching and elimination numbers for the RIOT baseball standings involves systematically searching for scenarios in which particular teams finish with or without gaining playoff berths. For example, we determined that San Francisco was eliminated from first place in the National League West on September 8th by proving that no feasible scenario exists in which the Giants win the division. The problem of determining whether a team can advance to playoffs given the current league standings and schedule of remaining games can be solved by a single maximum flow calculation (see Hoffman and Rivlin [1] and Schwartz [2]). By introducing additional constraints, we extend this maximum flow formulation to derive integer linear programming problems which find the minimum number of games a given team must win to clinch a playoff spot or avoid elimination from post season play. Robinson [3] takes a similar approach to finding a scenario which maximizes a given team’s lead in the final standings. Interested readers should also consult Gusfield and Martel [4], who show how to find the minimum number of games a team must win to avoid elimination from first place by solving a parametric minimum cut problem.

Very neat. Click here to download their paper.

NHL Simulators

If you google for nhl playoff simulator my NHL Eastern Conference Playoff Race Simulator comes in at #3 in the search results. While I was checking my Google ranking, I found a paper written by some professors from the University of Alberta where they used some simple Monte Carlo simulations in Excel to simulate the end of the 2004 NHL regular season, and then the playoffs. If you are of the less math-inclined persuasion, skim sections 2 and 3, but be sure to read at least section 4. Here is a reference to the paper:

Ingolfsson A. (2004), “Simulating NHL Games to Motivate Student Interest in OR/MS,” INFORMS Transactions on Education, Vol. 5, No 1,