The Mathematics of SET

Applied Math, Pure Math

SET is a fast-paced and addictive card game in which players race to find a matching collection of cards with specific properties. Lurking underneath the colors and shapes displayed on each card is surprising and sophisticated mathematics! The main goal of this stream will be to study the mathematical structure underlying the game of SET in order to answer some challenging questions about the nature of the game and its many variations. Along the way we will learn the high-powered abstract mathematics needed to study these questions. Specialized fields such as linear and abstract algebra/combinatorics/probability/and geometry will all play a role. After studying the base game/we will dive into generalizations of SET based on group theory and projective geometry. There will be unique opportunities for students to form their own research projects about SET and related games. Students who are interested in coding will be encouraged to write code to help formulate and answer interesting questions about SET.

Stream Leaders

Tim Tribone, PhD
Research Associate, Mathematics