Posted February 08 2005 - 10:38 AM
| Anyone see "Las Vegas" on TV last night? They had a guy win a lot on Roulette (up to around $4 million before they figured out what was happening). The writers tried to explain the scam by the guy putting bets on 4 "sectors" of the board AFTER the ball was in play, and the guy had an accomplice to help with triangulation, throw in an offsite PC doing the number crunching, and a cell phone to tell him which sector to bet, you get a guy winning on a roulette table. (this was glossed over rather quickly, so I may have some of the details wrong) |
Of course, much was just sloppy writing, but I guess it might be possible to predict the outcome of the ball given certain factors that could be measured. Mike (the resident guru) said it'd take some heavy computing power to get the right sector for each tumble of the ball around the wheel.
Aside from the fact that the timing necessary for this to work would involve instant computing and betting (I don’t really think that you can get bets down after the ball is in play), Chaos Theory would seem to much make this kind of prediction not possible (chris mentions the bounce—caused by raised diamonds on the wheel).
Put briefly, the ability for computers to predict the outcome based on the initial vectors, is deterministic
. A deterministic system might be thought of as something like Newtonian mechanics, (why we can get to the moon). However the fly in the ointment here is that (so far) no one has been able to actually prove the stability of the solar system.
Chaos Theory has to do with the effects of a butterfly in Brazil causing a toranado in Oklahoma. Chaotic systems are typically so complex, that, though they in fact might be deterministic, but (nearly) impossible to predict. This has to do with our inability to find a variable that has a ‘repetition of values’ as the system changes.
In simple terms, this basically means that if one drop of water hits an edge it will continue on either to one side or the other—but the next drop may or may not follow the same direction.
It cannot be predicted.
In terms of a roulette wheel, with the very many number of diamonds (and also the ridges of the slots themselves) produce a system for which it would not be possible to predict the outcome at all, much less in a very limited time.
In terms of CSI, much of their investigation is based on deterministic outcomes, some of them, likely outcomes that are not predictable. This does not lessen my enjoyment of the show.