I study the life-cycle of viruses, and I perform lots of tissue culture experiments. In order to try to develop theories to explain some results I was getting, I wrote a computer program that uses a Monte Carlo scheme to simulate infection of cells by viruses. I need a different random number for each simulated virus, in order to randomly assign it to a cell that it ‘infects.’ In order for the results to be meaningful, I need to simulate tens of thousands of ‘cells’ and hundreds of thousands of ‘viruses,’ so I need hundreds of thousands of random numbers. The pseudo-random numbers produced by the Apple Macintosh built-in linear congruental generator proved themselves to be not good enough for the job, as I found that some numbers were chosen too often, a definite no-no for my purposes. Then I saw the NY Times article about this site and gave it a try. First I tried using Random.org numbers to seed the Macintosh generator at frequent intervals during the execution of the simulation, but it did not solve the problem. So I tested using all numbers from this site and they passed my quality test. So now I download several batches at a time of 10,000 numbers between 1 and 40,000 and string them into big files as the sources of my numbers. I'd like to be able to download them in even bigger batches, though. Thanks for a truly useful service!
—David N. Levy, University of Alabama at Birmingham
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