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Random Walks, Markov Chains and the Monte Carlo Method

Dr. Everett F. Carter Jr.
Taygeta Scientific Inc.gif

A look at some of the practical considerations when making calculations based upon Monte Carlo type methods.


The only good Monte Carlo is a dead Monte Carlo Trotter & Tukey, 1954

The class of algorithms that solve problems probabilistically are known by the (purposely) colorful name of Monte Carlo methods.

There are two types of Monte Carlo methods:


Anyone who considers arithmetical methods of producing random digits is, of course, in a state of sin.

John Von Neumann (1951)

There are many subtle problems that can occur and various compromises have to be made in order to even pretend to generate random numbers with a computer.

Use a trustworthy, long period random number generator. The generator built in to your compiler is not trustworthy.

Skip Carter
Tue Jan 9 12:38:54 PST 1996