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Is there a formula for generating random numbers? © Getty Images

Is there a formula for generating random numbers?

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To be truly random number no formula should be able to predict or, therefore, create them...

Asked by: Will Harrison, Ipswich

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Strictly speaking, there can't be a formula for generating truly random numbers - which by definition follow no law. Even so, all computers use formulas to generate 'pseudo-random' numbers that certainly look pretty random. The formulas are somewhat technical but a very simple one that anyone can use is to divide 1 by 179. The resulting decimal number gives a string of over 170 random digits.


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Authors

Robert is a science writer and visiting professor of science at Aston University.

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