The Computers: Algorithms: (Pseudorandom Numbers Algorithms )


Algorithms for generating numbers according to a particular probability distribution. For example, the two most common problems are generating integers uniformly between 1 and n, and generating real numbers uniformly between 0 and 1. Other common distributions include Gaussian and Poisson. Because most random-number-generation algorithms have no influence from the outside environment, they are inherently pseudorandom: predictable, and following a pattern, also ideally not an apparent one. Thus the quote: "Anyone who considers arithmetical methods of producing random digits is, of course, in a state of sin." - John von Neumann (1951) A classic reference on this topic, and a good starting point, is Donald Knuth's Art of Computer Programming. Pseudorandom Numbers Algorithms Computers.