Quote:

>If I would write a 'better' routine than rand(), how exactly should I

>test it? How can I know how random any series of numbers are?

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If you are serious about this, the book by Knuth allluded to upstrream is the

way to go. But I never bothered to do that, you always have to learn the

repertoire and foibles of his {*filter*} little hypothetical computer in order to

understand, at least thouroughly, his stuff. If he is still alive and

interested in making money, I wish he (or someone younger and hungrier) would

rewrite his books using something like

Pascal or Algol 60 as a base. I think

any programmer can at least read ( but not write) those two languages.

Here is something I did several years ago. I plotted a single black pixel on

an x-y plane and watched as the screen gradually turned black, looking for

patterns of some sort. For a 16 bit number, say 10 bits for x and 6 bits for

y.

I don't know that this is defensible mathematically but I found it very

appealling at an intuitive level. And, yes, I know one shouldn't use intuition

in this field especailly.

Another way that appeals to me (again indefensible) is to collect say 1600

numbers and plot a histogram of any four bit field (contiguous or

non-contiguous) from the set of numbers. The 16 bars should all be of

approximately equal length. You could watch these histograms being repainted

in real time and it doesn't require knowlege of Windows or some other God awful

GUI. (I did my work on an Atari ST, the last decent computer made.)

I guess properly this belongs on some math newsgroup. Where you will be fresh

meat and subject to all kinds of ridicule because you don't know about 'Abel's

incompleteness theorem on the computability of rational approximations' or some

such bit of esoterica.

If you repost, I would appreciate an E-mail about where you go since I find it

a fascinating subject. But not fascinating enough to wade through Knuth. My

address is real and works, as is true of all AOL addresses.