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Random picking algorithms
Randomized picking algorithms attempt to implement some form of chance outcome in their processing steps. In many cases, the chance outcome is not truly random, and instead, large number ranges are used to simulate randomness. For example, a choice might need to be made between 2 options (i.e like a Yes or No question). The user might require the selection to be entirely random and as unbiased as possible. By using a coin toss, the outcome may appear random but there is always the probability that the coin itself is not fully balanced on its cross-section. Alternatively, a numerical logic may provide a more balanced “random” outcome. This could be achieved by defining a large range of numbers with equal odd and even numbers. The next step would be to assign all odd numbers to mean “yes” and all even numbers to mean “no”. Finally, a random number generator could be used to generate a number, the number generator should have wider limits than the range of numbers defined. This forces the method to have an invalid outcome, which is when the number generator picks an out-of-range number.
How do you make a random selection online?
Before looking at online solutions, everything you need might already be on your laptop, because you can easily use Excel to make random selections. Specifically, there are 2 Excel functions that are perfect for picking random outcomes from lists and ranges.
The two functions you should be looking at are the RAND() and the RANDBETWEEN() functions.
- The RAND() function uses the Mersenne Twister Algorithm to generate the random number. This function outputs a number between 0 and 1.
- The RANDBETWEEN() function does exactly what it says on the box and outputs a random selection from a list or a range.
Need to generate random choices ?
Our random decision making application is perfect for picking a selection from a list of choices.
What is random selection?
Random selection refers to a process of identifying samples from a pool of choices relying on chance alone. The methods of random selection that most people are familiar with would be:
- picking a name from a hat
- picking the shortest straw
- spinning a wheel or bottle
- drawing lots
Keep in mind that when using a random selection tool, every outcome is equally possible. This means that when using a random selection tool to select a single person out of a group of 10, it is just as possible for the same person to be picked 10 out of 10 times as it is for different people to be picked each time.
What are random picker applications used for?
Random name picker
A random name picker can be used to pick names for children, pets, new businesses, etc. Usually, the process requires you to make a list of names that you like but cannot decide from. There are online random name generators that pick names from a huge pool of names, but considering cultural differences and gender differences these tools can be somewhat impractical to use. Also, if something is worth naming, most people would have some names in mind that they want to choose from.
Random number picker
Earlier in our article, we have already covered how Excel can be used to randomly pick a number.
But did you know that you can also use web browser-based apps to pick a number?
While we are talking about numbers, here’s a fun fact: 37 is rumored to be the most common random number around. That’s strangely not too far away from the legendary reference to 42.
When picking a random number, with sufficient data points over a prolonged period of experimentation, it will be possible to find patterns in the output of most seemingly random number generators.
Random color picker
There are 2 ways to look at a solution to pick random colors.
- Pick a random hex code to determine a color. This method requires the random generation of a hex code that is valid. Such a task is not too difficult to automate with Excel, although you would probably need some level of familiarity with combining (concatenating) text in cells together.
- Pick a random color from a list of colors. Since the number of colors in the world are technically infinite, using this method would require the user to pre-populate a list to make a selection from.
Random picker for a free giveaway
In the social media industry, random pickers are a big deal. This is primarily because they are used for picking random winners from followers who may have shared a post, liked a post, left a comment, signed up for something or responded to content with their own content.
To meet this demand, there are many apps available to pick winners from followers or competition entries.
Once again, our very own random decision making application can come in handy if there is a need to manually choose finalists from a shortlisted pool of potential winners.