Nimber-Preserving Reductions and Homomorphic Sprague-Grundy Game Encodings [article]

Kyle Burke, Matthew Ferland, Shanghua Teng
2022 arXiv   pre-print
The concept of nimbers–a.k.a. Grundy-values or nim-values–is fundamental to combinatorial game theory. Nimbers provide a complete characterization of strategic interactions among impartial games in their disjunctive sums as well as the winnability. In this paper, we initiate a study of nimber-preserving reductions among impartial games. These reductions enhance the winnability-preserving reductions in traditional computational characterizations of combinatorial games. We prove that Generalized
more » ... eography is complete for the natural class, I^P , of polynomially-short impartial rulesets under nimber-preserving reductions, a property we refer to as Sprague-Grundy-complete. In contrast, we also show that not every PSPACE-complete ruleset in I^P is Sprague-Grundy-complete for I^P . By considering every impartial game as an encoding of its nimber, our technical result establishes the following striking cryptography-inspired homomorphic theorem: Despite the PSPACE-completeness of nimber computation for I^P , there exists a polynomial-time algorithm to construct, for any pair of games G_1, G_2 of I^P , a prime game (i.e. a game that cannot be written as a sum) H of I^P , satisfying: nimber(H) = nimber(G_1) ⊕ nimber(G_2).
arXiv:2109.05622v2 fatcat:ksi27dd56bamnjjajoazestvhu