Random Number Update

Henrik Nilsson Henrik.Nilsson at nottingham.ac.uk
Wed Jan 25 11:44:49 UTC 2017


On 01/24/2017 07:45 PM, Sven Panne wrote:
> Whatever will be done, I think it would be good to keep the 'random'
> package alive, probably just by re-exporting one of the better RNGs,
> perhaps with a thin shim to keep the API identical. Yes, this would
> somehow "bless" one of the RNGs, but this is not important: The
> important thing is avoiding breakage in the ecosystem, keeping
> tutorials, books etc. valid. People who know what they are doing can
> easily pick the right RNG for their needs and/or quickly adapt their
> code, but I guess for lots of stuff having just *some* RNG under the
> traditional package name/module name is more than enough.

I couldn't agree more.

Good (pseudo) random number generators are very important, and the
effort people like Dominic and Carter have put in is deeply appreciated.

However, a simplistic generator is much better than code breakage and
no generator. Users who don't pose the question about what
generator is used under the hood are unlikely to be bitten very hard by
a simplistic one. But they would be bitten hard if there isn't any or if
the API changes.

I've used the present one for games and the like, and they work OK for
that. I've also used them in an implementation of Metropolis-Hastings 
(for Bayesian inference) (albeit not that much) and I at
least broadly got the results I expected.



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