[SIGCIS-Members] George Marsaglia and Gail Gasram?

Jeff Thompson mail at jeffreythompson.org
Thu Nov 21 06:47:22 PST 2019

Hi everyone, not sure if this is exactly SIGCIS material so please feel to point me elsewhere!

I’ve been researching random number generation for a course I’m teaching on chance and randomness in the arts, including George Marsaglia’s “Dieharder” software suite. In the documentation, he quotes someone named Gail Gasram as saying “Nothing is random, only uncertain.” But after a lot of digging, I find almost nothing on Gasram online except papers and books with the same quote.

I posted this on the Statistics Stack Exchange site <https://stats.stackexchange.com/questions/437174/who-is-gail-gasram> and got an interesting answer: “Gail Gasram” is “Marsaglia G” backwards! It was also noted that some sources cite “Gasram” as having written much of the Dieharder code, all of which leads to the question why would Marsaglia create this alter ego? Is this a mathematician inside joke or something more complex?

If anyone has any info or suggestions for how to look into this, it would be most appreciated!

Cheers and thanks for letting an artist lurk in the group!


- - -
Jeff Thompson
Assistant Professor, Program Director
Visual Art & Technology, Stevens Institute of Technology


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