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#1 2013-01-19 19:05:53

Registered: 2013-01-19
Posts: 3

Questions about Patterns/Randomness

I have thought about these for a long time, but never encountered anything about these in math. If it exists out there, I'd like to know which subject it is under and what resources I could use to learn about them.

Also, I'm kinda new, so if there are any shortcuts/tools to use math symbols, that would be much appreciated. ^^

1) Can every pattern be represented by a function?

E.g. Prime Numbers: 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, etc...

Supposedly "Random" Phenomenon: 7, 7, 3, 2, 6, 8, 5, 0, 6, 0, etc... (used a random number generator)

Things so complex that it seems impossible to represent, but is it possible?:
     1) The first two numbers in the sequence are 0, then 1.
     2) The needed for the next number in the sequence is equal to the number of (sample) standard deviations of the current data (or sample, set, etc.? I don't know the exact terminology) for 50% of the data to fall under (about .67, but I want the exact value to be used), then add the current average of the current data (or etc.). In other words, about .67 * Standard Deviation + Average.
     3) The value in Step#2 is rounded up if it contains decimals (it always will, won't it?), then that final number is the next term in the sequence.
     NOTE: This is actually something I'm trying to figure out in an application in real life, but I'm more concerned about the math part than what the application is. xD

The Digits of Pi: 3, 1, 4, 1, 5, 9, 2, 6, 5, etc...

The Digits of e: 2, 7, 1, 8, 2, 8, 1, 8, 2, etc...

"Weird" (in terms of math) Patterns that seem simple: 1, 2, 3, 2, 1, 2, 3, 2, 1, etc... OR 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, etc... OR 1, 3, 2, 4, 3, 5, 4, 6, etc...

...and anything else I missed, or that you find interesting enough to share about.

2) Can there be an equation written for any pattern?

Pretty much the same as Question#1, but regarding equations rather than functions (no piece-wise, etc.)

3) Is there a way to calculate "randomness", or how random something is?

Because everything in real life has a causation (as far as I know, and I'll be asking about this in the next question), nothing in real life is truly random.

I noticed that in terms of randomness, it has two traits:

     1) The time it takes for this "random" sequence to repeat its pattern (although the values may not repeat: e.g. 1, 1, 2, 2, 3 <-- pattern repeats here.).
     2) The actual complexity of the pattern, which makes it more unpredictable. (e.g. 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, etc... is more simple than 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2, etc...).

Also, I've noticed that, in patterns, it's really just a combination of a pattern, then "pattern breaks" (as I like to call it), where there is a pattern for when the original pattern changes. I've noticed that something appears more "random" if they have more "pattern breaks", longer sequences, and more complex patterns that aren't accounted for in the "pattern breaks" (Are there patterns that can't be created from "pattern breaks"?)

So getting back to my question: Assuming you know the pattern, how do you calculate its "randomness"? Assuming you don't know the pattern, and you can produce any amount of data from it, how large would the sample have to be, and how do you calculate its "randomness"?

4) Can something be truly random?

Everything in life has a causation, so this leads me to two scenarios if true randomness exists:
     1) There exists things in life that have no causation (The only thing I can think of that would fit that is God if He exists)
     2) There exists things whose causations either cause them to be random, or lacks characteristics that prevents it from being random.

5) I definitely want to apply this knowledge to produce "levels" of randomness in a game, or a computer AI that is able to analyze, estimate, and even predict the pattern(s) of the gamer. Is this possible in terms of math, and if so, is this possible in terms of programming? (starting to get off-topic, but this is definitely the main application I have for the topic of patterns and randomness).

Pretty much, I want to possibly create computer AI's whose actions seems to be "human-like" instead of being rigid and robotic.

If you are playing mahjong or poker against a computer, will it be able to predict your patterns if you yourself aren't "mixing it up" or being "random" enough? I know in statistics, you can guess based on the end results, like 30% of the time, he does X in Y scenario, but that doesn't account for the causations. For example, one could have equal probability to do any actions in all scenarios, but different people might do different actions over time (e.g. 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2, etc... results in 50% of the time doing action 1, but 2, 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, etc... is also 50% of the time, or even 1, 1, 2, 2, 1, 1, 2, 2, etc...).

I want to mention other things, but it's concepts that I want to keep for my video game designing in the future, and I could figure them out if I knew the information above.

Thanks in advance! If you need anything clarified, please ask! (this is kinda hard to explain since I don't know the terminology that goes with it).


#2 2013-01-19 19:08:41

Registered: 2013-01-19
Posts: 3

Re: Questions about Patterns/Randomness

I forgot another question:

5) Is there a method to, with an increasing set of data, start predicting or pin-pointing the exact pattern of something?

Last edited by Tobaifo (2013-01-19 19:08:58)


#3 2013-01-19 21:47:54

From: Bumpkinland
Registered: 2009-04-12
Posts: 109,606

Re: Questions about Patterns/Randomness


Welcome to the forum!

Can every pattern be represented by a function?

Yes and no.

Can something be truly random?

This question is difficult to answer because we do not even really have a good definition for the term random.

If you are playing mahjong or poker against a computer, will it be able to predict your patterns if you yourself aren't "mixing it up" or being "random" enough?

To some degree yes.

In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them.
If it ain't broke, fix it until it is.
Always satisfy the Prime Directive of getting the right answer above all else.


#4 2013-01-19 22:13:24

bob bundy
Registered: 2010-06-20
Posts: 8,354

Re: Questions about Patterns/Randomness

hi Tobaifo

Wow!  You've jumped in the deep end there.  Lots to consider.

1) Can every pattern be represented by a function?

E.g. Prime Numbers: 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, etc...

You'll make the national news if you can figure a rule for the primes.  No one has so far!

Computers use pseudo random generators .... they have a formula but no one is going to be able to guess it.  And you could throw in unpredictable factors such as what time the system clock shows at the moment the generator is used.

I think I'm right in saying that pi and e have been shown to be unpredictable sequences, although formulas exist to calculate both to any given degree of accuracy.

There are methods for finding the rule for a sequence that may (or may not depending on the sequence) work. … -rule.html

I thought there were tests for randomness but I had to look it up.  There are:

As for causation, that's a whole thread on its own!  If you ask that you'd better do it under

And be prepared for every answer under the sun and for the thread to run and run and run.  smile


Children are not defined by school ...........The Fonz
You cannot teach a man anything;  you can only help him find it within himself..........Galileo Galilei


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