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random numbers

Abstractions blog

Mathematicians Calculate How Randomness Creeps In

November 12, 2019

Mathematicians have figured out exactly how many moves it takes to randomize a 15 puzzle.

insights puzzle

How Randomness Can Arise From Determinism

October 14, 2019

Playing with a simple bean machine illustrates how deterministic laws can produce probabilistic, random-seeming behavior.

An illustration of a sunset beach scene turned into a puzzle.
insights puzzle

Solution: ‘Perfect Randomness’

September 27, 2019

Is nature inherently random or is perfect randomness just an illusion based on our ignorance?

An illustration of a sunset beach scene turned into a puzzle.
insights puzzle

The Puzzling Search for Perfect Randomness

August 20, 2019

Does objective, perfect randomness exist, or is randomness merely a product of our ignorance?

Abstractions blog

How Randomness Can Make Math Easier

July 9, 2019

Randomness would seem to make a mathematical statement harder to prove. In fact, it often does the opposite.

geometry

Random Surfaces Hide an Intricate Order

July 2, 2019

Mathematicians have proved that a random process applied to a random surface will yield consistent patterns.

quantum information theory

How to Turn a Quantum Computer Into the Ultimate Randomness Generator

June 19, 2019

Pure, verifiable randomness is hard to come by. Two proposals show how to make quantum computers into randomness factories.

Art for "Proof Finds That All Change Is a Mix of Order and Randomness"
dynamical systems

Proof Finds That All Change Is a Mix of Order and Randomness

March 27, 2019

All descriptions of change are a unique blend of chance and determinism, according to the sweeping mathematical proof of the “weak Pinsker conjecture.”

insights puzzle

Solution: ‘A Drunkard’s Walk in Manhattan’

September 7, 2016

City blocks help illustrate why walking randomly tends to take you away from your starting point.