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This book (which we call AMRD) is one of our our main sources of inspiration (this is also where our name comes from). The simple idea of printing a million numbers in a book (in neat rows of five digits each) is both beautiful and moving, two qualities we usually find in art. Since we discovered this book we have been using it all the time in order to produce music (in both Cagean and Uncagean ways) and to solve problems: this one book provides answers to all questions, somehow like I-ching; also similarly to I-ching (and other non linear texts like Dictionaries, Phone books or the Bible) it is endless, meaning it is much "larger" that its actual number of pages might suggests.

Here is our music for AMRD. Our stuff is only available online. You can click and listen or rightclick (mac ctrl click) and save it. You can share our music any way you like as long as you leave the ID tag unmodified.


This music goes with the random numbers. Here you find our own html version of the million digits. For links to the the Rand version see below. Please beware that this page is about 1.3 mb and that it might take a while to load.

Disclaimer: these random digits (which are © of the Rand Corporation) were put online for purely artistic, contemplative and aesthetic reasons. For all other purposes please refer to the Rand Corporation website. We would like to thank Rand and all the original team involved in the production of these digits.

About the original book

This is an excerpt of an article in the New York Times (june 12, 2001):
Before high-speed digital computers were invented, mathematicians compiled tables of random numbers by blindly flipping through phone books, casting dice, spinning spinners or drawing cards from a hat. As automation came of age, the RAND Corporation used a kind of electronic roulette wheel to generate a classic work, published in 1955, called "A Million Random Digits With 100,000 Normal Deviates." The seemingly oxymoronic term "normal deviates" (random numbers whose occurrence can be plotted on a bell-shaped curve) inspired the New York Public Library to shelve the book in the psychology section.

RAND's herculean task took years. After the wheel had spun off the numbers, at the rate of one per second, they had to be sifted to expel some maddening regularities and then stored on 20,000 I.B.M. punch cards (50 numbers per card). But further scrutiny showed that some order still lingered. Certain digits tended to appear more often than others. And so the numbers were further scrambled (using a process called modular arithmetic) and then printed out using a machine called a Cardatype.

"Because of the very nature of the tables," the authors noted in the introduction, "it did not seem necessary to proofread every page of the final manuscript in order to catch random errors of the Cardatype."

We don't own a physical copy of this book, unfortunately; we had heard about it but we couldn't find it in our library. Then we found a downloadable digital copy on the Rand Corporation's website.

Here is their website:

This is the Rand's page on the book; from here you can download a pdf version of the digits (64,7 mb), plus the introductions, or buy the actual book for 30$.

Here is their digital version complete with intros.

The actual digits and normal deviates can be downloaded in txt format here, both zipped (660 k) and unzipped (1,4 mb).

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