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# Infinite monkey theorem

humour
“If you put an infinite number of monkeys at typewriters, eventually one will bash out the script for Hamlet.” (One may also hypothesise a small number of monkeys and a very long period of time.) This theorem asserts nothing about the intelligence of the one random monkey that eventually comes up with the script (and note that the mob will also type out all the possible *incorrect* versions of Hamlet). It may be referred to semi-seriously when justifying a brute force method; the implication is that, with enough resources thrown at it, any technical challenge becomes a one-banana problem.
This theorem was first popularised by the astronomer Sir Arthur Eddington. It became part of the idiom through the classic short story “Inflexible Logic” by Russell Maloney, and many younger hackers know it through a reference in Douglas Adams’s “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”.
[Jargon File]
(2002-04-07)

Tagged:

• Infiniteness

[in-fuh-nit] /ˈɪn fə nɪt/ adjective 1. immeasurably great: an infinite capacity for forgiveness. 2. indefinitely or exceedingly great: infinite sums of money. 3. unlimited or unmeasurable in extent of space, duration of time, etc.: the infinite nature of outer space. 4. unbounded or unlimited; boundless; endless: God’s infinite mercy. 5. Mathematics. noun 6. something that […]

• Infinite-product

noun, Mathematics. 1. a sequence of numbers in which an infinite number of terms are multiplied together.

• Infinite-regress

noun, Philosophy. 1. causal or logical relationship of terms in a series without the possibility of a term initiating the series.

• Infinite-series

noun, Mathematics. 1. a sequence of numbers in which an infinite number of terms are added successively in a given pattern; the sequence of partial sums of a given sequence.

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