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« Show 'N Tell | Main | The Record Runner »
Thursday
Mar292018

Random Number Machine

In this quick video I take a look at a stand-alone random number generator that uses Nixie tubes. The ebay advert for this suggested that the buyer could gut it for the tubes. When I saw that I knew that I had to rescue this unusual little piece of electronics history.   

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Reader Comments (5)

That's really interesting! :D

March 29, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDominik Galuszka

I have seen more modern versions used in several settings, one as you indicated lotteries could certainly use such a machine. However when I was studying for my CPA, the professor in the auditing class advocated using a random number generator for picking samples. So you'd apply standard statistical models to a achieve a desired confidence level and reliability level for a sample of population N, n so lets say you had a 10,000 checks and to achieve your random sample of 120 checks the right number for some confidence level you then enter the starting and ending number for the total population and then press the button to get the check numbers you would go investigate.

This approach to do that was replaced fairly early in my career by computer programs that could do all the work. Several articles were written proving the number generators of the early programs weren't truly random a pattern could be picked out but the solution for that was demand a seed number to start the programs search. Presumably the pattern was still not truly random but so long as the client could not realistically no in advance what numbers would be selected it wasn't really an issue. Most of us used an even more basic approach we would have a declk of cards well shuffled you'd pull a card and count that interval between checks to be pulled again not really random but random enough to isnure the sample was likely to be a good cross section of the checks written.

March 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMarty Lampner

The random number generator might have been used for picking a fair sample of products from a storage area for verification/certification See: https://www.iso.org/standard/42039.html

March 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEdward Mróz

98! I got it!

April 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRichard D

Bit late watching this one but I also chose 98. I suppose for every 100 people seeing this video one person is going to be right, or doesn't it work that way?!

May 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterChris E
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