[Python-ideas] Globally configurable random number generation

Donald Stufft donald at stufft.io
Mon Sep 14 17:41:58 CEST 2015

On September 14, 2015 at 11:40:53 AM, Sturla Molden (sturla.molden at gmail.com) wrote:
> On 14/09/15 16:45, Random832 wrote:
> >> These functions aren't used widely in scientific computing.
> >
> > I don't see how that's relevant, when what I'm talking about is
> > "providing an API that switches them from secure mode to
> > insecure/deterministic mode"
> It is not just a matter of security versus determinism. It is also a
> matter of numerical accuracy. The distribution of the output sequence
> must be proven and be as close as possible to the distribution of interest.
> MT19937 is loved by scientists because it emulates sampling from the
> uniform distribution so well. Faster alternatives exist, more secure
> alternatives too. But when we simulate a stochastic process we also care
> about numerical accuracy. MT19937 is considered state of the art for
> this purpose.
> It does not seem that the issue of numerical accuracy is appreciated in
> this debate. Cryptographers just want random bits that cannot be
> predicted. Numerical accuracy is not their primary concern. If you
> replace MT19937 with "something more secure" you likely also loose its
> usefulness for scientific computing.

Nobody is suggesting to remove MT, just make it so you have to explicitly
opt-in to it.

Donald Stufft
PGP: 0x6E3CBCE93372DCFA // 7C6B 7C5D 5E2B 6356 A926 F04F 6E3C BCE9 3372 DCFA

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