In Artificial Intelligence research, an important notion is that of a state—a non-empty set of discrete variable/value pairs. States can be used to describe quite a variety of things, including, oh, games you can play on computers.
Here’s an example of a game you can also play off computers:
The state here is as follows:
This state tells you all you need to know about the game. You could write it down on a piece of paper, and someone could reconstruct it exactly as it was 100 years later. OK, so they wouldn’t know what was going on in the players’ heads, but they’d know how things stood ...