It is meant to be all down to luck or as the saying goes “on the roll of a dice”. But researchers from Poland believe they can predict the throw of a dice, using chaos theory and mathematics to figure out where the dice will land – and crucially, which side is facing up.
Naturally, the researchers, at the Technical University of Lodz, need to know some of the starting variables, such as the friction of the table, air conditions and the acceleration of gravity. (are you still following us?)
If the team can translate their theories into a working, portable machine, then Las Vegas, Monte Carlo, and Atlantic City may be in big trouble.
The researchers created a three-dimensional model of the die throw and compared the theoretical results to experimental observations. By using a high-speed camera to track the die’s movement as it is thrown and bounces, they found the probability of the die landing on the face that is the lowest one at the beginning is larger than the probability of landing on any other face.
This suggests that the toss of a symmetrical die is not a perfectly random action.
‘Theoretically the die throw is predictable, but the accuracy required for determining the initial position is so high that practically it approximates a random process,’ said Marcin Kapitaniak, a Ph.D. student at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.
‘Only a good magician can throw the die in the way to obtain the desired result.’
These results suggest that randomness in mechanical systems is connected with discontinuity as the die bounces.
‘When the die bounces on the table, it is more difficult to predict the result than in the case of a die landing on the soft surface,’ Kapitaniak said.
So all in all it is possible to predict, but more often than not because of human involvement in the throw of the die, it is still sadly random and so dot not go betting your house on the result just yet.