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# What is random number generation?

Module by: Petrina Mangala. E-mail the author

## What is random number generation?

Random number generation is the production of a sequence of numbers that do not have any easily discernable pattern. The generated numbers occur in a sequence that makes it impossible to predict future values based on the past or present values. The devices used to generate random numbers are called random number generators. They are not perfectly random in their generation but they produce a sequence that can be treated as being random. Random numbers can be generated through physical methods (by physical devices), or computational methods (by computational devices).

Examples:

• rolling a dice
• coin flipping
• roulette wheels (casino and gambling games)
• shuffling of playing cards
• computer programs (computer applications based on deterministic algorithms for generating random numbers).

Exercise:

Which of the two methods of generating random numbers is most likely to produce true random numbers? Answer

References:

Random number generation: Theory, http://www.acroname.com/brainstem/examples/random/random.html, Brainstem, last accessed 23 February 2006.Random number generator, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Random_number_generator, last access 23 February 2006.

Co-Author: Christopher Chikalimba Gama

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