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Super computer does lottery

A super computer has been used by scientists at Southampton University to discover patterns in the way we fill out our lottery tickets.
Written by Jane Wakefield, Contributor on

According to scientists in the Department of Electronics and Computer Science, seven is the most popular number and is chosen 25 percent more than 46, the least popular. Players tend to select numbers towards the centre and top of the lottery ticket and prefer not to choose consecutive numbers. Numbers greater than 31 are chosen less often, probably because players use birthday dates for their selection.

Eight Compaq/Digital Alpha PCs running Windows NT 4.0 workstation and connected by switched fast Ethernet were used to generate the data.

Dr Cox, one of the scientists involved in the study, commented that the technique known as entropy could be applied to other situations. "While the discoveries about the lottery have thrown up some interesting facets of human behaviour, they are not in themselves important. The major significance of the work is seen when it is applied to other important situations in patterns of illness or disease, or in investor behaviour. There the ‘maximum entropy' technique can help deduce information buried in data," he said.

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