A Glimpse of Random

August 30, 2018

I found “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Quasirandom Sequences” interesting. Random number generators are important to certain cyber analytics systems. The write up puts the spotlight on the R2 method. Without turning a blog post into a math lesson, I want to suggest that you visit the source document and look at how different approaches to random number generation appear when graphed. My point is that the selection of a method and then the decision to seed a method with a particular value can have an impact on how the other numerical recipes behave when random numbers are fed into a process. The outputs of a system in which the user has great confidence may, in fact, be constructs and one way to make sense of data. What’s this mean? Pinpointing algorithmic “bias” is a difficult job. It is often useful to keep in mind that decisions made by a developer or math whiz for what seems like a no brainer process can have a significant impact on outputs.

Stephen E Arnold, August 30, 2018


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