Case ID: QA-0638
Solution ID: 39771

El Farol

Case Analysis

This case introduces students to the design of artificial agents and evolutionary tournaments through W. Brian Arthur's minority game. Following Arthur, the game is motivated by the story of El Farol, a popular music bar in Santa Fe, California. The bar tended to attract large crowds with its programming of Irish music on Thursday nights. The venue offered only a limited amount of space which detracted from the enjoyment of music programs when the audience outgrew the bar capacity. Moderately attended events were highly successful with most patrons. A crowed bar, however, would diminish this enjoyment to the point where most patrons would have preferred not to attend the event. Since El Farol did not pre-sell tickets, patrons had no information about the evening's attendance until they arrived at the restaurant. Although there was no information about attendance at upcoming events, patrons could learn attendance levels in previous weeks by word of mouth and, over time, formed expectations about future attendance based on their knowledge of past attendance figures.

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