Gaussian pseudo-random numbers -- math issues

Timothy Miller gandalf at
Tue Oct 21 18:03:17 EDT 2008


I'm interested an a modest statistics demonstration, but I can't  
figure out how do to the math myself.

I'd like to have a few lines of code that produces a sequence of  
numbers. (whole numbers would probably be okay). I'd like to specify  
the number of numbers generated. Let's call that Z.

I'd like also to specify the desired mean and standard deviation. I'd  
like the function (is this a function??) to work in such a way that  
if Z is large, the set of numbers generated, if graphed as a  
frequency distribution, would be normally distributed, i.e., Gaussian.

If Z is rather small, then the mean and standard deviation of the  
numbers produced will would only approximate the desired mean and  
standard deviation. Different runs would produce different actual  
means and standard deviations.

If Z is very small, like 3 or 4, the numbers will look almost random.

I hope I explained that clearly.

Optionally, I might also be able to enter a variable that would  
specify the desired number of digits to the right of the decimal point.

No favors are requested. I'd really be rather uncomfortable with a  
generous gesture. However, if someone has some code like this sitting  
around, and you're willing to share it, with a few notes about how to  
use it, I'd appreciate it. If not, it can't be helped.

Hmmmm... I wonder if some website somewhere would do the work for me.  
That could work... I looked around, but didn't find anything.

Thanks in advance.

Tim Miller

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