[mercury-users] Converting time_t to int using common library?

ok ok at cs.otago.ac.nz
Thu Feb 22 15:51:46 AEDT 2007

I wrote:
>> It would simply be morally wrong to provide a random number generator
>> that was KNOWN to be bad.

On 22 Feb 2007, at 4:49 pm, Mark Brown wrote:
> Do you want to tell Knuth or should I?  :-S

I was talking about the library for a programming language which  
claims to provide logic programming for software engineers.  In that  
context, "random number generator" obviously
refers to something that users will expect to take seriously as a  
reusable component for generating pseudo-random number streams of  
good (if not 'best') quality.

I presume the reference to Knuth was to AoCP v2, Seminumerical  
Algorithms.  But the whole
point of the relevant chunk of that book is to teach people about RNG  
algorithms, and that includes telling people what can go wrong.  When  
it comes to recommending something they might actually use, Knuth has  
NEVER knowingly offered something of low quality.  When his
algorithm 55 turned out to have a flaw, the next edition of the book  
fixed it.  He put a LOT of effort into finding and reporting recent/ 
better work in each revision of volume 2.  (I commented
on a draft edition at one point, and I've still got a C function of  
his on one of my machines.)

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