Pseudo Random: PyDelhi User Group + ILUGD + LinuxChix India Meetup

Meetups are awesome, right? We get to visit places, meet new people, learn new things and above all, learn how much more there is to learn. PyDelhi meetup at Amity Noida was no different last week. Except the fact that it made everyone actually admire mathematics. For a while. Yep, you read that right! Ladies and gentlewomen, here’s a recap of why we should never take the mighty algebra and his notorious sister calculus for granted…

“let the words of eternal wisdom be spoken…”

As Mr. Aniket Maithani was embracing the stage to deliver his opening talk, we the audience were busy wondering what could possibly be there about random that we didn’t already know? After all, it’s just as simple as…

from random import randint
print(randint(0,9))

However, the following couple of hours begged to differ! Mathematics, you know. It wasn’t long after Aniket started that it struck our geeky brains — “wait a minute! If we’re invoking some preprogrammed algorithm then how can it be random?!” Because literally our beloved ‘random’ means…

Besides, way to go DuckDuckGo!

Nevertheless, the talk proceeded and grasped us into asking — “How Random is Random?”, “Is there any such thing as random in programming?” I don’t know about others but it took no time for me to recall how I struggled ‘randomly’ allocating from a set of values in an array in one of my senior high school projects. I spent hours figuring out why the rand() function was annoyingly repetitive! In doing so I also came around some ways to make rand() do its job better…

#include <time.h>     //external non-repetitive noise
#include <stdlib.h> // good old C library

srand(time(NULL)); //apparently srand() knows its job better
int r = rand(); //look who's random now

Answers to all those questions where finally brought to light when Aniket took us backstage (figuratively). Now, I’ll be honest to you, it took me a week (literally) to type this just because I couldn’t pull out a way to put it all together in words! Anyway, long story short, maths you know…

look all you want people, this is how beautiful it gets.
Expression? Mathematics, you know.

And when it all started to entangle in the overwhelming equation, a sound cut in from behind. Behold! “That equation is not as sophisticated as it looks. What he (Aniket) is trying to tell us is that when it comes to computing, there is no such thing as random but pseudo random. It is nothing but stochastic calculus in action. And noises via mathematical models are added to reduce redundancy…” Our jaws were dropped by the time that unfamiliar voice finished. We just met the real life Dr. Sheldon Cooper.

Dr. Priya Ranjan

Dr. Priya Ranjan. I wish I had words to express just how awesome this man is. And I wish I could rewind his comment on blue-screen-of-death company and how it reflected the need of open-source computing. He is that person whose duration of presence is always less. Read all about his works here.

This is the true essence of open-source community. You never know who you’ll bump into next time and just how much they will have to share about what they have done so far. From Global Interpreter Lock (multi-threading) to TMUX (efficiency) to Tensor Flow (Machine Learning) — learning never ends and it never should.

meanwhile back at stage: Aniket glad to see his talk meet its destiny

After Aniket’s talk culminated resolved, Dr. Priya took charge of microphone and bombarded bazookas of wisdom ranging from his experience as an Electrical Engineering student at IIT Roorkee to his invaluable work at DARPANET. He gave such a candid talk that most of us were having hard time grasping…

enlightened

A lightening talk on Ethical Hacking by Mr. Udit and a demonstration of Searching your soul-mate using Linux by T K Sourabh followed after recess. Calling this meetup a bonus of lifetime wouldn’t be any less than justified. However, even the tastiest treats come to an end alas. And so did this with a circular chat session with mentors and their mentors…