We can never decide for sure that a number is random, but what we can do is apply an increasing number of tests and treat our sequence of numbers as innocent until proved guilty.“
Source Colva Roney-Dougal, Senior Lecturer in Pure Mathematics at the University of St Andrews, speaking in 'Random and Pseudorandom', BBC 'In our time' Jan. 2011.
Although the tests can show that a finite sequence of numbers appears to be random (i.e. it can't be mathematically represented in a shorter form) - there is currently no mathematical method to prove that if it continues, the next numbers in the sequence won't start to repeat.
I can never prove that a sequence of numbers is random, I can only say that it looks and smells random given all the tests I've been able to apply so far.”
A number of 'tests' have been developed to gauge how random a sequence of numbers might be. They include statistical tests, transforms, and measures of complexity - or a mixture of these.
Note : There is currently debate over whether it's possible to distinguish the output of high-quality modern-day pseudo-random number generators (computer algorithms commonly used in cryptography) and truly random sequences. This open question has crucial implications of the security of data encryption.
Also see :
Ideas for new topics, and suggested additions / corrections for old ones, are always welcome.
If you have skills or interests in a particular field, and have suggestions for Wikenigma, get in touch !
Or, if you'd like to become a regular contributor . . . request a login password. Registered users can edit the entire content of the site, and also create new pages.
( The 'Notes for contributors' section in the main menu has further information and guidelines etc.)
You are currently viewing an auto-translated version of Wikenigma
Please be aware that no automatic translation engines are 100% accurate, and so the auto-translated content will very probably feature errors and omissions.
Nevertheless, Wikenigma hopes that the translated content will help to attract a wider global audience.