Here’s a challenge for someone. Well, maybe it’s easy, but it’s challenging for me. For lack of a better name, I call it probabilistic lookup. Say you have a list of names, ordered by popularity (according to the U.S. Census Bureau):
How can you randomly select a name such that names at the top of the list are more likely to be selected than names at the bottom of the list? In other words, if you randomly select 1,000 names from this list and then do a sorted frequency distribution of the selected names, they should (roughly) appear in the same order as the original list.
It needs to be generalizable to handle a much larger list (~10,000) . I’m not seeking statistical perfection, just a reasonably accurate way to give names higher on the list a greater chance of being selected, and names lower on the list a lower chance of being selected.
I’d prefer a formula solution, if possible.