Perspective. In the 1948 landmark paper A Mathematical Theory of Communication, Claude Shannon founded the field of information theory and revolutionized the telecommunications industry, laying the groundwork for today’s Information Age. In this paper, Shannon proposed using a Markov chain to create a statistical model of the sequences of letters in a piece of English text. Markov chains are now widely used in speech recognition, handwriting recognition, information retrieval, data compression, and spam filtering. They also have many scientific computing applications including the genemark algorithm for gene prediction, the Metropolis algorithm for measuring thermodynamical properties, and Google’s PageRank algorithm for Web search. For this assignment, we consider a whimsical variant: generating stylized pseudo-random text.
Markov chains are a venerable statistical technique and formed the basis of a lot of text processing (especially text generation) due to the algorithm’s relatively low computational requirements.