Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Heads ! No, Tails !

Phil Luckett is probably feeling rather aggrieved right about now.

Persi Diaconis, Susan Holmes and Richard Montgomery just showed that coin tossing, that most elementary of approaches to generating randomness, is biased. With a probability of 51%, a coin will land on the same side that it was tossed from.

If you ever get a chance to attend one of Prof Diaconis's talks, definitely do so. His biography is rather entertaining; he spent time in a circus before becoming a mathematician.

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