Okay, so they are not really in battle with one another since they are two different things.  I just wanted to make the title all dramatic like.  And how are they different you ask?  Well, you know how I said that multiple imputation isn’t really making up data?  Random number generation is making up data.  The two procedures do have their similarities though.  Like they both involve drawing values from a certain distribution.  In multiple imputation, this distribution usually comes from data you’ve already observed.  In random number generation, you can basically pre-determine any distribution you want — that’s the making up part.  But, just like with multiple imputation, you could redraw values a bunch of times until you get it to converge to some value you want it to converge to.  Get it?  Got it?  Good.  Now, let’s move on.  Now, because you are making up data, random number generation is technically more flexible than multiple imputation in that you could draw values from any distribution you specify.  So technically, I could generate some values that might lead me to a dimension where I’m with a former sexy, Soviet spy in an exotic location.  Although in most applications, scientists still base their observations on previously observed data as they want to do computations that would aid in real life applications.  There are also different ways to generate data just like there are different ways to impute data, and we could say that all these ways fall under the field of computational statistics.  But all those ways might be too much to cover in this one lil post.  So I’ll just cover one facet at a time here.  I will just say again here that it is possible to generate (and impute actually) different types of data, like continuous data that can take any value on a certain interval, categorical data which don’t really involve number stuff, like color or say, movie studios (still debating whether I should sell my movie rights to Universal, Warner Brothers, or Paramount … hmmm), and binary values that only take two values like 0 or 1.  By the way, speaking of binary data …



Now, I don’t know about you, but that one gets me every time.