Predictalator's Secret System: 50,000 Replays or 1,000,000 Monkeys?
Perhaps you've heard of the Infinite Monkeys Theorem.
That's the classic paradox of using the absurd to prove the rationality that when incomprehensible possibilities are involved, anything can happen. It's the stuff that keeps Detroit Lions fans going.
It's also such a mind-blower that we may need visualization to better understand it (keep in mind there are 26 letters in the English alphabet):
Now, granted, Shakespeare's plays can be a bit wordy on occasion, but they still take less time than a normal sporting event (and frankly, they often contain more action). But we see there's a formula to predict their results. And it actually takes slightly less than an infinite number of monkeys to get the job done.
Which brings us to the Predictalator.
The bright lights behind this software program claim that it replays every NFL game 50,000 times to calculate the probability of a certain result. So, when it turns its crunching power toward this season's Super Bowl, zeros are flying all over the simulated field:
- 32 NFL teams play 16 regular-season games each. That's 32 x 16 = 512; it takes two teams to play a game, so the regular season involves 216 games.
- 216 x 50,000 = 10,800,000 simulations
- All probabilites must be considered, so a Jets-Lions match-up in the 2014 Super Bowl isn't out of the question.
It's from this mathematical soup that the Predictalator derives its Nostradamical prowess. But compared to 1,000,000 -- much less infinity -- 50,000 is a drop in the proverbial bucket. All of which means the Predictalator would be better served to offer up vague quatrains itself.
Here's what the Predictalator sees for the upcoming Super Bowl:
- The San Francisco 49ers will win it, based on doing so in 20.7% of the projections.
- This is because the 49ers beat Denver, who got there 14.6% of the time, in 60.6% of their match-up projections by an average score of 31-27.
- The next most likely candidates for Super Bowl success were the Green Bay Packers (10.5%), New England Patriots (8.9%), Seattle Seahawks (7.2%) and Houston Texans (7.1%).
So read 'em and weep.
And spare a tear or two for, say, 2010's projected NCAA Final Four, where Duke beat Michigan State for the national title while Butler and West Virginia came up short.
Meanwhile, the quest continues in mind-boggling data parsing, and progress is apparently being made.
Two years ago, a theoretical collection of 1,000,000 monkeys just reproduced Shakespeare's A Lover's Complaint. And they're close on two others.
Many NFL pundits are siding with the Predictalator this year. The rest of us, though, might be better served by waiting to hear from the monkeys.