Wednesday 1 July 2015

a random book in a random post at a random time

So this Wednesday post is coming out a little later than usual but that helps with the random nature of its content.

This is 'A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates' published by the Rand corporation in 1955. It's a book of random numbers.
'Not long after research began at RAND in 1946, the need arose for random numbers that could be used to solve problems of various kinds of experimental probability procedures. These applications, called Monte Carlo methods, required a large supply of random digits and normal deviates of high quality, and the tables presented here were produced to meet those requirements. This book was a product of RAND's pioneering work in computing, as well a testament to the patience and persistence of researchers in the early days of RAND. The tables of random numbers in this book have become a standard reference in engineering and econometrics textbooks and have been widely used in gaming and simulations that employ Monte Carlo trials. Still the largest published source of random digits and normal deviates, the work is routinely used by statisticians, physicists, polltakers, market analysts, lottery administrators, and quality control engineers.'

It is an interesting artefact of a pre-digital age when now you can find a whole host of random number generators online. Refrence books I find fascinating in terms of their functional nature. Wrapped around them they have the whole community of who they are aimed to be read by. Mechanics have their manuals on cars, scientists have their books on random numbers. It then raises the question in terms of book arts. Who reads artists books? It has certainly given me something to think about, do I aim my work at someone? Can I make artists books for one person or many people?


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