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Virtual Monkeys Are Working On Producing The Complete Works Of Shakespeare

Programmer Jesse Anderson takes the infinite monkey theorem to task.
September 27, 2011, 3:11pm

Most of us have heard about the infinite monkey theorem. You know, it’s that perfectly logical idea that a group of monkeys hitting random keys on keyboards for infinity will eventually end up producing the works of Shakespeare. But while most of us have heard of this mathematical probability, not many of us can claim to have made any attempts at proving the theorem. But software developer Jesse Anderson can.

Inspired by The Simpsons, Anderson has taken this theorem to task by setting up numerous computer programs as virtual monkeys that type out random groups of nine characters. A computer program then compares the nonsense that these virtual simians type to the complete works of Shakespeare to see if it matches anything. And the process then repeats itself. The project has been running since 21st August 2011 with over 5 trillion character groups randomly generated so far. As of yesterday, it’s yielded A Lover's Complaint and The Tempest, and will continue until all the works are produced. You can follow the progress over on his blog.