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[liberationtech] TEXTCOMBINE-REV, A software for combining text files to obtain high-quality pseudo-randomness in practice (replacing an earlier retracted software)

Travis Biehn tbiehn at
Thu Sep 7 11:47:37 PDT 2017

It seems necessary, now, to hi-light the following caveat from the work;

.. should be noted however that the goal of this software
# is not the generation of bit sequences to compete with those from the
# CSPRNGs, which have theoretical proofs of their nice qualities. Since the
# techniques employed in the present software are all empirical or heuristic in
# nature, any rigorous proofs of qualities would evidently be futile from the
# outset. On the contrary, our main goal is rather humble: It consists in
# providing a practically acceptable, under circumstances fairly convenient and
# even welcome alternative means of obtaining high-quality pseudo-randomness.

You might question why it appears on this list, as software producers here
should be mostly interested in CSPRNGs. Fumbling RNG use in
privacy-oriented software usually leads to 'significant harms.'


On Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 1:33 AM, Cecilia Tanaka <cecilia.tanaka at>

> I know you don't like to be called Professor, but you were being my
> teacher, my professor while I was feeling fear and much pain in the
> hospital.  I thank you very much for sincerely sharing your software with
> us.  Some will hate, some will love, but the point is knowing how many
> efforts, how much time you've spent doing something special for sharing
> with the world.  Thank you very much for it.  I am very proud!  :D
> ----------
> "Don't let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your
> curiosity.  It's your place in the world; it's your life.  Go on and do all
> you can with it, and make it the life you want to live."  -  Mae Jemison
> On Aug 31, 2017 7:01 PM, "mok-kong shen" <mok-kong.shen at>
> wrote:
> An earlier software of mine, TEXTCOMBINE-SP, posted to this group was not
> satisfactory due a bug in a function employed in its design and was
> retracted.
> I am posting now its replacement TEXTCOMBINE-REV which has been carefully
> tested and has a fairly good performance IMHO. The following is extracted
> from its
> Prologue:
> # What has been achieved by the present software can be tersely summarized
> as
> # follows, assuming the general case where the text files are sufficiently
> # large:
> #
> # (1) The generated byte sequences pass, via design specifications of the
> #     software, Maurer's universal test and the autocorrelation test for
> all
> #     d in the range [1, 16] as well as the ENT test with an entropy value
> #     according to it of at least 7.99 bits per byte. The software is
> namely
> #     coded such that it would give up, reporting failure, after a certain
> #     specified maximum amount of processing has been done without finding
> #     a solution.
> #
> # (2) An extensive expermiment of the present author done on all different
> #     combinations, totalling 3060 in number, of 4 source materials (of
> size
> #     600 KB each) taken from 18 different books of English literature
> #     downloaded from Project Gutenberg resulted in the following:
> #
> #     (a) No case of failure was ever encountered. On the contrary, the
> above
> #         mentioned processing limit, which is in terms of rounds of
> certain
> #         preprocessing of source materials before they are xor-ed
> together,
> #         was by far not being approached in the experiment. For details,
> see
> #         Epilogue.
> #
> #     (b) The worst case of entropy according to ENT in the experiment was
> #         higher than 7.995 bits per byte and the average CPU-time was
> less than
> #         15 sec on author's PC.
> The software is available at
> M. K. Shen
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