Computer Pseudo Random vs Physical Pseudo Random

The idea of this exercise was to think about randomness and to try to create a random function that can be used with a computer, without using the random function used by the computer. A complex mathematical operation which is an algorithm that simulates randomness in a way that is very good for the eye of most people.  But if inspected closely it can show some repetitive patterns.

In this case, we are comparing the random function used by Processing with a random function created using computer vision to “read” images from the real world and Processing code to translate that input into values that would be the alternative random.

For this purpose we tested the system with water with oil, pure water, pieces of white paper over a dark background and paper on water, mixed with oil.

The results are interesting. The “analog” randomness resulted to be more predictable that one could expect. Depending on the interaction with the elements, the resulting number would be shifted towards certain numbers. An interesting fact is that close numbers are repeated but there’s no absolute certainty that when clicking the mouse to read the random result you will get the same number twice, even if the recipient and the elements haven’t been manipulated recently.

On the other hand, it seems like the Processing random function has an even distribution, that once in a while repeats a result, just to look like it is a real random function. We can see more result diversity with this system than with the current analog system.


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