python & mathematical methods of picking numbers at random

Bart Nessux bart_nessux at
Thu Jan 15 21:31:49 CET 2004

Paul Rubin wrote:
> Bart Nessux <bart_nessux at> writes:
>>I am using method 'a' below to pick 25 names from a pool of 225. A
>>co-worker is using method 'b' by running it 25 times and throwing out
>>the winning name (names are associated with numbers) after each run
>>and then re-counting the list and doing it all over again.
>>My boss thinks that 'b' is somehow less fair than 'a',
> Both are the same, as you can see by calculating the probability of
> any given name being selected.  What is the application, and the
> computer environment?  You may also need to worry about correlations
> in the underlying Mersenne Twister PRNG.  If the application is
> something where randomness is very important (you're picking winners
> for a big lottery or something) then you should use a better RNG.

We're raffling off crock-pots... that's why I think this is OK for our 

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