Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from Stephen, a student:

formula for calculating five numbers dropping out of ninety 37-16-29-10-45 dropped out of ninety numbers.What formular can be used to predict the next five numbers out of the ninety?


there is no such formula. In a lottery (that was the subject line of your message), these numbers are chosen randomly. This means they are entirely unpredictable. The whole point of a lottery is that by design no one can predict it. This is partly why lotteries still use real physical methods (like drawing numbers from a hat or balls from a drum) instead of computer algorithms and mathematical formulas to determine the winners. Computers and mathematical formulas cannot create truly random numbers. If a mathematical formula was used, then the lottery numbers could be predicted and cheaters could calculate how to win.

For a similar example, consider the situation if you arrive first in your classroom, and there are 30 students in your class. You watch the next 4 people arrive in order: Dennis, Claude, Walter and Chris. Does this give you any ability to know which are the next 4 people that will arrive? No.

Stephen La Rocque.

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