Accepted Session
Long Form
Scheduled: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 from 10:00 – 11:45am in B202/203


If you want to understand randomness better (and you should), this is the talk for you.


Randomness is philosophically interesting and really important to technologists. I will survey a bunch of random stuff, including:

  • Applications of randomness, including cryptography and game theory (they’re related). A hypothetical Poker server will be a running example.
  • Various definitions of “random”, including one good one and several bad ones used by most software people.
  • Pseudo-random number generators (PRNGs). Hardware random number generators, including entropy gatherers. I will show an open-hardware open-source high speed true random number generator built by Bdale Garbee and Keith Packard that I’ve been involved with, which will provide 12Mb/s of random bits through a USB port for about $15.
  • Statistical tests of randomness and how various popular PRNGs fail.
  • Randomized algorithms, including my well-polished minitalk on The Perfect Shuffle and a discussion of “Telephone Poker”.

Participants will write code for a couple of popular PRNGs and evaluate their performance during the session.

If you want to understand randomness better (and you should), this is the talk for you.


random, algorithms, philosophy, Open Source, open hardware, games, poker

Speaking experience

I'm a PSU Professor who does lots conference presentations.I have given six Open Source Bridge talks in the past three years. My most recent public talk was on "popcount" at the PDXBytes meeting last week.


  • Beach headshot 256x256

    Bart Massey

    Portland State University


    Bart Massey has been geeking around with community computing for 35 years, and has been involved in Free Software and Open Source since its inception. For the past 13 years, he has been a CS Prof at Portland State University, where he works in open tech, artificial intelligence, software engineering and low-level software development.

    Bart is past Secretary of the X.Org Foundation Board and a current Member of the PSU MCECS Innovation Program Board. Bart is the architect of the X library XCB, a modern replacement for Xlib, and the author of the XCB image extension. His current open tech interests include Haskell, game AI, open hardware and building bridges between pieces of the open tech community. He was one of the original participants in the Open Source Bridge conversation.