Science Forums

# Random Number Series

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My thought is we can never generate a true random number by any means at all. Even if you start with something as random as a stream of white noise, you still have the problem of collecting something randomly out of it. How do you select a true random moment to dive in and make your collection?

The collecting action itself would need to be random as well as the stream the collecting is done from.

Maybe crashing two random streams together will cause something random to fall out, but how do you choose what to collect of the fallout and when?

I think it can get very deeply philosophical and even touch on the whole argument about free will and determinism.

Then again, I am probably over thinking it. If the experiment cannot cause a repetition of the number for the duration of the experiment, it should be random enough for any practical usage, I would think.

According to me true randomness would allow for duplication of some numbers, but without any predictive algorithm .....

A series with numbers 1 to n with mutually exclusive non-repetitive elements does introduce randomness at each element level but there is a rule that acts over the whole series and introduces non-randomness.

Edited by petrushkagoogol
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My thought is we can never generate a true random number by any means at all. Even if you start with something as random as a stream of white noise, you still have the problem of collecting something randomly out of it. How do you select a true random moment to dive in and make your collection?

The collecting action itself would need to be random as well as the stream the collecting is done from.

Maybe crashing two random streams together will cause something random to fall out, but how do you choose what to collect of the fallout and when?

I think it can get very deeply philosophical and even touch on the whole argument about free will and determinism.

Then again, I am probably over thinking it. If the experiment cannot cause a repetition of the number for the duration of the experiment, it should be random enough for any practical usage, I would think.

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Computers have a largest number. The X-bit operating systems reflect the limit for that system with respect to the largest address that can be generated (for addressing memory)..

By definition, every computer is limited to selecting some subset of all available integers (1..infinity, or -infinity...infinity) when implementing any algorithm for selecting so-called random numbers.

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Computers have a largest number. The X-bit operating systems reflect the limit for that system with respect to the largest address that can be generated (for addressing memory)..

By definition, every computer is limited to selecting some subset of all available integers (1..infinity, or -infinity...infinity) when implementing any algorithm for selecting so-called random numbers.

The number of "bits" defined in a machine architecture (and supported by an operating system) is only a limit for the largest number that can be operated on in a single instruction cycle.

Obviously programs are not tied to this limit, and this is how we get "pi computed to the nth digit" and other similar algorithms. It should also be noted that neither is an algorithm limited to available RAM because caching to attached storage can be performed, and further, caching to unattached storage (for those of us familiar with swapping tapes, disk packs, or floppy disks back in the olden days).

Obviously with any computer representation you eventually run out of capacity well before "infinity" even if you're able to utilize every quark in the universe as a bit, due to the fact that we appear to have a closed universe, but most folks find you can do an awful lot with the capacity we do have. Moreover, bringing this back to the topic of random numbers and their usage, given the way that statistical sampling works, you get pretty good results with sample sizes of 10,000 or so, and near certainty if you have millions or billions which are easily handled by a desktop computer.

Limits, like fear, is often an illusion, :phones:
Buffy
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The number of "bits" defined in a machine architecture (and supported by an operating system) is only a limit for the largest number that can be operated on in a single instruction cycle.

Obviously programs are not tied to this limit, and this is how we get "pi computed to the nth digit" and other similar algorithms. It should also be noted that neither is an algorithm limited to available RAM because caching to attached storage can be performed, and further, caching to unattached storage (for those of us familiar with swapping tapes, disk packs, or floppy disks back in the olden days).

Obviously with any computer representation you eventually run out of capacity well before "infinity" even if you're able to utilize every quark in the universe as a bit, due to the fact that we appear to have a closed universe, but most folks find you can do an awful lot with the capacity we do have. Moreover, bringing this back to the topic of random numbers and their usage, given the way that statistical sampling works, you get pretty good results with sample sizes of 10,000 or so, and near certainty if you have millions or billions which are easily handled by a desktop computer.

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I'm confused.

Do you take issue with this?:

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...

By definition, every computer is limited to selecting some subset of all available integers (1..infinity, or -infinity...infinity) when implementing any algorithm for selecting so-called random numbers.

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It seems to me that you don't know the meaning of "random".

Have you ever written a program? I mean computer program.

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I'm confused.

Mmm hmm.

Do you take issue with this?:

Nope. I am saying it's non-sequitur though.

Mostly though clarifying the issues surrounding your somewhat obscure statement.

It seems to me that you don't know the meaning of "random".

Have you ever written a program? I mean computer program.

I have a bachelor's degree in Computer Science from UC Berkeley. I have been in the software business for over 30 years, and I am currently the Chief Technology Officer for a web-based software company.

I'm fluent in over 3 dozen programming languages. I spend most of my time between writing these posts writing and reviewing my team's code for an enterprise software system that has over 2 million lines of code that we sell to some of the biggest companies in the US.

I've been assuming you didn't respond to any of my earlier posts in this thread because you didn't understand them.

I had a running compiler and nobody would touch it. … they carefully told me, computers could only do arithmetic; they could not do programs, :phones:

Buffy

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Nope. I am saying it's non-sequitur though.

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What's a non-sequitur? I dare you to answer.

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What's a non-sequitur? I dare you to answer.

Sigh.

A non sequitur is a conversational and literary device, often used for comedic purposes. It is something said that, because of its apparent lack of meaning relative to what preceded it,[1] seems absurd to the point of being humorous or confusing.

This use of the term is distinct from the non sequitur in logic, where it is a fallacy.

Source: Wikipedia

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines, :phones:

Buffy

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Sigh.

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines, :phones:

Buffy

LOL

No. I asked what of mine is a non-sequitur. You don't even understand what YOU are writing!!!!

You really are dangerous!

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No. I asked what of mine is a non-sequitur. You don't even understand what YOU are writing!!!!

You really are dangerous!

What's a non-sequitur? I dare you to answer.

...not "what of mine is a non-sequitur."

Although in idiomatic English the "of mine" could be implied by context, I've copied your entire post in this block above, and most would note the complete lack of context. "I dare you" does nothing to provide any, just a pointless bit of testosterone. There's literally nothing wrong with interpreting this to be a request for definition, if anything seeming to bet that I don't know what it is.

That's hardly "dangerous," although I suppose I could be.

This is exactly what I've been trying to explain to you in multiple threads here: your complete either unwillingness or inability to specify what you actually mean gets in the way of your ability to communicate with your fellow humans. You should really try it. You might find it beneficial.

Nelson's Column has gone, McDonald's have gone, all that's left is me and the words Mostly harmless, :phones:

Buffy

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...not "what of mine is a non-sequitur."

[snip]

This is exactly what I've been trying to explain to you in multiple threads here: your complete either unwillingness or inability to specify what you actually mean gets in the way of your ability to communicate with your fellow humans. You should really try it. You might find it beneficial.

Buffy

And there you hit the nail on the head with Scherado. She generally expresses herself in ambiguous or tendentious language - and then professes shock and indignation when people respond on the basis of a reading different from that which Scherado chooses (retrospectively?) to ascribe.

I think by now the shock and indignation can all be discounted as hot air, by the way. This person seems to think practically every other statement on this forum is unbe-bleeping- lievable, calls for the resignation of members of the moderating team are two a penny, etc.  All pretty farcical really.

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...

Nope. I am saying it is (sic) non-sequitur though.

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What is the it?

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This went "over your head" for reasons known only to you. You've been smoking crack if you think I asked you to define "non-sequitur."

Now, I dare you to answer.

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This went "over your head" for reasons known only to you. You've been smoking crack if you think I asked you to define "non-sequitur."

Now, I dare you to answer.

After all the detailed explanation I've provided and you still don't understand how it applies to your statement?

"Unbleeping believable."

"You are dangerous!"

It's discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit, :phones:

Buffy

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