Solitaire Science

Voice Card  -  Volume 30  -  Suzanne Card Number 8  -  Sun, Dec 12, 1993 4:28 PM

This is ONE OF 2 responses to VC 29 John 8 ("Lessons Learned")...

Again, I'm thrilled to have been able to do my part to contribute to science. It was interesting to see your analysis of the statistical data. Betsy's high average winning percentage is perplexing.

Unfortunately, my system is no longer cooperating with Solitaire. Maybe I've played too many games and screwed up the memory or something. When I try to play a game now, whenever I click on anything, I get a message saying "can't read ___ command." Usually there's a single letter in the blank with quote marks around it.

So, for now, as I am shut off from further contribution to science, I've occasionally indulged in my old version of Klondike. While I haven't officially kept track of how many games I've won vs. how many played, I'm pretty sure that my average winning score is higher than with your version of Solitaire.

This makes me wonder about randomness. How is randomness determined? Of course everyone agrees on what randomness is, but how does a computer determine a random sequence of cards. It seems that some kind of a system must be involved to create the illusion of randomness, as the system probably couldn't just stir up the cards in chaotic fashion.

Anyway, I think it would be a good idea to let the computer create certain "random" spreads and then distribute copies of the same spreads to everyone. Then we could more accurately compare the results of different players/strategies. I think Paul has suggested something like this too.