Overview for Random Data

Use Random Data to generate random samples of data. You can generate random data from a distribution that you select, or you can create a random sample from the data in your worksheet.

You can reproduce the same set of random values by using Set Base to set a starting point for Minitab's random number generator each time you generate random data.

Create a random sample from worksheet columns (Sample from Columns)

Create a random sample of rows from one or more columns of data. You can sample with replacement (select the same row more than one time), or without replacement (select each row only one time).

For example, a scientist wants to randomize the order of six test subjects for an experiment. The scientist enters the subject identifiers in alphabetical order in a worksheet. Then, the scientist takes a random sample, without replacement, of the same number of rows (6).

C1 C2
Subjects Randomized Subjects
A F
B A
C B
D D
E E
F C

Create random data from a known distribution (Random Data)
Create a random sample from a specified distribution. Minitab offers many common distributions such as the normal distribution, the exponential distribution, and the Poisson distribution, so that you can specify parameters and create random data.

For example, to simulate a response for an experiment, an engineer generates 10 rows of data from a normal distribution with a mean of 50 and a standard deviation of 2.

C1
Normal data
49.9227
51.6819
47.5938
51.6290
49.3442
52.8206
49.0670
48.9014
49.0128
51.5786

Set the random number generator (Set Base)

If you want to generate the same random values, you can specify the starting point for the random number generator by entering an integer. When you use the same base, you get the same sample.

For example, a professor generates 50 rows of random normal data for use in a classroom exercise. The professor and students each set the base to 1 to generate the same data, and thus, the same analysis results.

Where to find these commands

To generate random data from a specified distribution, choose Calc > Random Data and select the distribution.

To take a sample from existing columns of data, choose Calc > Random Data > Sample From Columns.

To set the base for the random number generator, choose Calc > Set Base.

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