Virtual monkeys have nearly written the Works of Shakespeare

6 October, 2011

The Infinite Monkey Theorem basically says that if you give a monkey a typewriter and allow it to randomly hit the keyboard for an infinite amount of time they will almost surely create a meaningful text such as the Works of Shakespeare.

An American computer programmer, Jesse Anderson, setup millions of virtual monkeys randomly selecting characters, nine at a time.  Each 9 character string was then compared with the Works of Shakespeare for something that was meaningful.

The programs were initially running on Amazon’s cloud computers via a home PC.  The process was started on 16th August and according to a news report by the BBC on 26th September, the project is 99.990% complete.

Mind you, it could be said that the process is cheating.  If you had real monkeys actually typing 9 letters at a time, they would not be able to compare what they had produced with Shakespeare’s writings.