Mixed Bit

So it goes.

Random walk illustrated with D3

I’m playing with D3 and I’m impressed how easy it is to create visualisations with this library. Below is my first attempt: a visualisation of a random walk (see the code). The mechanism is simple: each step of the walk is made either in the left or the right direction depending on a result of a coin flip. After several steps, a destination point is marked and a new walk is started.

If the simulation runs for some time, the destination points start to resemble the bell curve. Most points are near the centre, and it is very unlikely for any point to be at the edges. This is in line with a probability theory: for large number of walks, probability that a point is reached follows a normal distribution.

Some interesting facts about random walks:

  • During a random walk of an infinite length, each point is reached an infinite number of times.
  • During a random walk of an infinite length, a series of steps in one direction (for example left, left, left, left, ...) of any finite length will be made an infinite number of times.

A moral of this is that an expected outcome of a random walk is always 0. Or in other words - don’t play roulette ;)

But do try D3 for your next visualisation, it’s really great!