[Rd] Bias in R's random integers?

Gabe Becker becker@g@be @ending from gene@com
Thu Sep 20 19:02:35 CEST 2018

Hi all,

On Thu, Sep 20, 2018 at 9:30 AM, Paul Gilbert <pgilbert902 using gmail.com> wrote:
> There are only two small problems that occur to me:
> 1/ Researchers that want to have reproducible results (all I hope) need to
> be aware the change has happened. In theory they should have recorded the
> RNG they were using, along with the seed (and, BTW, the number of nodes if
> they generate with a parallel generator). If they have not done that then
> they can figure out the RNG from knowing what version of R they used. If
> they haven't recorded that then they can figure it out by some
> experimentation and knowing roughly when they did the research. If none of
> this works then the research probably should be lost.
> As an exercise, researchers might also want to experiment with whether the
> new default qualitatively changes their results. That might lead to
> publishable research, so no one should complain.

I was going to suggest helper/convenience functions for this but looking at
?RNG I see that someone has already put in RNGversion which *sets* the RNG
kind to what was used by default in an older version. I do wonder if there
is still value in a function that would *return* it, e.g. for comparisons.
Perhaps RNGversionstr?

Also, would R-core members be interested in a small patch to sessionInfo()
and print.sessionInfo() which makes it so that the current RNGkind is
captured and displayed (respectively) by the sessionInfo machinery? I can
prepare one if so.


Gabriel Becker, Ph.D
Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
Genentech Research

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