Conway's Games and Some of their Basic Properties

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Conway's Games and Some of their Basic Properties

We formulate a few basic concepts of J. H. Conway's theory of games based on his book [6]. This is a first step towards formalizing Conway's theory of numbers into Mizar, which is an approach to proving the existence of a FIELD (i.e., a proper class that satisfies the axioms of a real-closed field) that includes the reals and ordinals, thus providing a uniform, independent and simple approach to these two constructions that does not go via the rational numbers and hence does for example not need the notion of a quotient field.

In this first article on Conway's games, we provide a definition of games, their birthdays (or ranks), their trees (a notion which is not in Conway's book, but is useful as a tool), their negates and their signs, together with some elementary properties of these notions. If one is interested only in Conway's numbers, it would have been easier to define them directly, but going via the notion of a game is a more general approach in the sense that a number is a special instance of a game and that there is a rich theory of games that are not numbers.

The main obstacle in formulating these topics in Mizar is that all definitions are highly recursive, which is not entirely simple to translate into the Mizar language. For example, according to Conway's definition, a game is an object consisting of left and right options which are themselves games, and this is by definition the only way to construct a game. This cannot directly be translated into Mizar, but a theorem is included in the article which proves that our definition is equivalent to Conway's.

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Formalized Mathematics

(a computer assisted approach)

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SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.119
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.237



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researchers in the fields of formal methods and computer-checked mathematics

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