Joe Abbott's Weblog

Letters home to mom

  • Stuff posted on these days

    October 2011
    M T W T F S S
    « Sep   Nov »
  • Meta

  • Joe Abbott Musings

  • RSS Cat Cartoon w/o the Cartoon

    • Coda
      Posting these cat-cartoons-without-the-cartoon was a long journey that I don’t know if I’ll repeat soon again. A daily blog is tough … even when you have your material handed to you! But, I couldn’t have done it without the artwork … Continue reading →
    • December 31, 2011
      Father Time is riding out his last few minutes of being the temporal keeper for 2011; he sits in an easy chair with a calendar showing “Dec 31” behind him and a grandfather clock pointing to the time of 11:53. … Continue reading →
    • December 30, 2011
      A happy young lady shares a table at a tony restaurant with her cat; they both wear festive, cone-shaped party hats. The woman gaily says to the tuxedoed server, “One martini and one glass of milk.” The cat does not … Continue reading →

Blog this: Shakespeare’s works completed by digital monkeys!

Posted by joeabbott on October 6, 2011

There’s an old saying that postulates that with an infinite amount of time and an infinite number of monkeys sitting at typewriters, they’d be able to complete the works of Shakespeare. Well, Jesse Anderson had neither infinite resource so he created a small computer program to act as his “digital monkey”, leveraged some other computer services available through the Internet (to proxy for “infinite” resources), and went about tracking passages created for matches against Shakespeare’s work (courtesy of the Gutenberg Project).

His result: after starting on 8/21/2011, the digital monkeys can take a break … they’re done.

Here’s Mr. Anderson’s “less technical” explanation of what he was doing:

Instead of having real monkeys typing on keyboards, I have virtual, computerized monkeys that output random gibberish. This is supposed to mimic a monkey randomly mashing the keys on a keyboard. The computer program I wrote compares that monkey’s gibberish to every work of Shakespeare to see if it actually matches a small portion of what Shakespeare wrote. If it does match, the portion of gibberish that matched Shakespeare is marked with green in the images below to show it was found by a monkey. The table below shows the exact number of characters and percentage the monkeys have found in Shakespeare. The parts of Shakespeare that have not been found are colored white. This process is repeated over and over until the monkeys have created every work of Shakespeare through random gibberish.

The references he made to the “images below” can be seen at Jesse’s blog; additionally, you can watch the video on the project below:

Jesse Anderson codes up a lot of monkeys!


Unfortunately, it sounds like Mr. Anderson anticipates or has received some angered responses. To the point that he had to implore people to “keep calm” and remind everyone that:
“No monkeys were harmed during the making of this code.”

I know that I imagined monkeys cranking out entire sonnets, not just nine character snippets, and yet, I applaud his ingenuity and initiative. Thanks for adding a little fun to life, Jesse!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: