Orientation Assignment 1 - Following the Scientific Method In groups

Orientation Assignment 1 - Following the Scientific Method
In groups of two, design and execute an experiment to empirically test how random a random
number generator is. Write the results of your experiment in the style of a computer science
research paper. The deadline for this assignment is 5pm on Tue 27 October 2015.
When performing the experiment and writing it up, think about the different stages in the scientific
1. What is your research question? In this case, the question is set for you: "How random are
random number generators?"
2. What do we know already?
Has anyone done this kind of experiment before? What methods did they use for testing?
Were they empirical or theoretical methods? Which random number generators were tested?
3. Decide what your research hypothesis is. In this case, either:
The random number generator is random
The random number generator is not random
You may need to further define the scope of the question, the definition for randomness and the
confidence levels you will use to test the results.
4. Execute your experiment. It is not necessary to write code to carry out this experiment (although
you can if you wish!). There are a lot of random number generators freely available on the web to
experiment with, so think about which ones would make a good test case and why. If you wish, you
might want to test two different random number generators and compare the results.
5. Display your results in graphs and figures and explain them in the text. What do your results
6. Discussion and Conclusions - have you proved or disproved your hypothesis? What are the
implications? What future experiments could you perform to continue with this work?
7. Literature - add references to related work and for the methods and algorithms you used.
Hints and Tips
You will need to apply a statistical test to determine randomness. There will be a whole course on
statistics later in your degree, so it is not the main focus of this exercise.
If you are not very familiar with statistics, read about some of the more common tests possible here:
Of course, when you search for related work, you will discover which statistical methods other
people have used previously.