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If Only Everything Was Radioactive: Randomness and Computing


Cory Benfield

Having access to randomness turns out to be remarkably important in computing. Whether you’re a scientist working on a simulation, someone trying to send secret messages, or just a person who wants to play a randomly generated video game level, having access to some kind of non-determinism is vital. But computers, as we all know, are thoroughly deterministic entities. So how can we get randomness?

This talk will investigate how randomness works on computers. We’ll introduce you to random number generators, talk about the different kinds that are available and when to use them, and then talk about how to get access to random numbers from your Python code.

Apologies for some of the picture corruption in this video and a/v sync issues. We had a some first day glitches in our recording set up.


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