[Numpy-discussion] NEP: Random Number Generator Policy

josef.pktd at gmail.com josef.pktd at gmail.com
Sun Jun 3 20:57:12 EDT 2018

On Sun, Jun 3, 2018 at 8:36 PM, Robert Kern <robert.kern at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Sun, Jun 3, 2018 at 4:35 PM Eric Wieser <wieser.eric+numpy at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> You make a bunch of good points refuting reproducible research as an
>> argument for not changing the random number streams.
>> However, there’s a second use-case you don’t address - unit tests. For
>> better or worse, downstream, or even our own
>> <https://github.com/numpy/numpy/blob/c4813a9/numpy/core/tests/test_multiarray.py#L5093-L5108>,
>> unit tests use a seeded random number generator as a shorthand to produce
>> some arbirary array, and then hard-code the expected output in their tests.
>> Breaking stream compatibility will break these tests.
> By the way, the reason that I didn't mention this use case as a motivation
> in the Status Quo section because, as I reviewed my mail archive, this
> wasn't actually a motivating use case for the policy. It's certainly a use
> case that developed once we did make these (*cough*extravagant*cough*)
> guarantees, though, as people started to rely on it, and I hope that my
> StableRandom proposal addresses it to your satisfaction. I could add some
> more details about that history if you think it would be useful.

I don't think that's accurate.
The unit tests for stable random numbers were added when Enthought silently
changed the normal random numbers and we got messages from users that the
unit tests fail and they cannot reproduce our results.

[SciPy-Dev] seeded randn gets different values on osx

(I don't find an online copy, this is from my own mail archive)



> --
> Robert Kern
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