Seventh Legion:Current events
- Pizza Rotation:
Random Number Generation
I recently rolled for you guys in the Mission 15 conclusion (which I will post about today), but it got me thinking about how good random number generators were. I recently read an argument that most well-written random number generators, these days, are actually more random than a bag of dice, because the dice will inevitably have imperfections that ruin the randomness of a given die. This argument seems to require further investigation, because I'd submit there's a chance that if I have 10 die with random imperfections, perhaps those imperfections cancel out to give random results anyway.
That is a task for another day, however. I wasn't feeling like writing or working on the train this morning, so I decided to test the Wizards of the Coast dice roller as a random number generator. I rolled a d10 10,000 times and made a histogram of the results (I seem to be unable to upload images at the moment - posted on Facebook about it - but I linked the image below):
For full disclosure on my methodology, I rolled 10 batches of 999d10 followed by a single roll of 1d10. I tried to roll as many as possible at once to expose a dependence on things like number generation by hashing the system time, but I'm guessing that only primitive dice rollers still use that type of source. Each number is represented roughly 1000 times, indicating that this is actually a fairly good representation of randomness. Even in the presence of true random number generation, we'd need an infinite number of rolls to have each number guaranteed to be 1000, so the presence of slight fluctuations doesn't necessarily indicate an imperfect random number generation scheme. It'd be interesting to see how others stack up. In particular, RANDOM.ORG uses a random number generation scheme based on atmospheric noise, which sounds very interesting, but they only generate d6 rolls. This guy has adapted the RANDOM.ORG generator to all RPG dice, but using the tool requires a (free) account, which I haven't made yet, but probably will eventually.