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Virtual Monkeys Used to Recreate Works of Shakespeare on Home Computer

A programmer is using about one million virtual monkeys with type writers to re-create the complete works of Shakespeare.

According to the BBC (opens in new tab), Jesse Anderson has developed a program which has a million virtual monkeys typing randomly to re-create Shakespeare's writings.

The programmer says he started the project to better understand the Hadoop big data analysis platform and to test the limits of Amazon’s EC2 platform. The project is using Amazon’s cloud based computing platform running on a home computer.

Amazingly, the monkeys are nearing completion of Shakespeare’s poem 'A Lover’s Complaint'. The programmer says the poem is 99.990 percent complete. The virtual monkeys randomly type on the keyboards; words that are a part of Shakespeare’s work are chosen will the others are discarded.

Dr. Ian Stewart of the University of Warwick believes that without the constraints used by Anderson in the project, it would take monkeys more than the age of the Universe to randomly type Shakespeare’s entire works.

“Along the way there would be untold numbers of attempts with one character wrong; even more with two wrong, and so on. Almost all other books, being shorter, would appear (countless times) before Shakespeare did,” he said.