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The SAGE Encyclopedia of Social Science Research Methods

Michael S. Lewis-Beck & Alan Bryman & Tim Futing Liao

Pub. date: 2004 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781412950589

Print ISBN: 9780761923633 | Online ISBN: 9781412950589

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Encyclopedia Entry

Random Number Generator

Philip A. Schrodt

A random number generator is any process that generates a sequence of values that is in some sense unpredictable. Random number generators are widely used in SIMULATION , Monte Carlo statistical techniques, and cryptography. True random numbers are generated by a natural process such as radioactive decay or atmospheric noise. However, most applications use pseudo-random numbers, which are generated by a deterministic equation that produces a sequence of values that has statistical properties similar to those of a true random sequence. Pseudo-random number generators are incorporated into most computer languages and in numerical software such as spreadsheets and statistical packages. The most common technique for generating pseudorandom number generators is the linear congruent generator For example, in the ANSI C computer language, the ...

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