A computer programmer has created a few million virtual monkeys on a mission to rewrite the complete works of William Shakespeare by random thrashing on a keyboard, a project that is nearly completed.
Jesse Anderson, a computer programmer from Nevada, has created more than a million virtual monkeys that bash on keyboards creating gibberish. The gibberish is monitored by a computer program written by Anderson, which compares the characters typed by the monkeys to works from Shakespeare.
Currently, the virtual monkeys have finished 99.99 percent of Shakespeare's entire catalog since the project began on Aug. 21, which includes 5.5 trillion possible nine-letter combinations. The first completed work by the monkeys was A Lover's Complaint, which has nearly 12,000 characters.
According to Anderson, the project will proceed until every work Shakespeare has written is reproduced by the virtual primates.
This process is repeated over and over until the monkeys have created every work of Shakespeare through random gibberish, Anderson wrote on his blog.
Using Hadoop, Amazon EC2 and Ubuntu Linux to create the monkeys, Anderson outlines the technical explanation on his blog. The Map Monkeys create random data, which is passed through a membership test followed by a string comparison that checks Shakespearean works.
As the monkeys continue their progression to recreate every work from Shakespeare, a report of their progress is highlighted on Anderson's blog in green, which is updated every thirty minutes.
While Anderson is unsure when they will finish, their progress is nearly complete in just a little over thirty days, with slightly over 1,000 words left to rewrite.
Anderson got his inspiration from an episode of The Simpsons when Homer finds a thousand monkeys typing away to create a line from Charles Dickens in Mr. Burns' mansion.
The joke is a play on the theory that a million monkeys sitting at a million typewriters will eventually produce Shakespeare., Anderson wrote. And that is what I did (am doing).