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back to article Far out Yuzoz gambles on the stars

Do you believe the Universe is really random? Back at GIGSE in Montreal, this correspondent got briefed on a new service for the online gambling industry - namely a service in the rather esoteric field of random number generation. After several weeks of phone tag, we finally managed to get in touch with Jeff Manber, CEO and co- …

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Random Noise

In the past, and indeed today, the only truly unbreakable encryption come from something called a 'one-time pad'. An entire list of random numbers and symbols that are transposed with the plain text into the message that is sent.

In the past, the NSA, CIA, and the KGB would use radios tuned far off any used frequency to record the "sounds" of stars and atmospheric noise to generate the pads.

Using this idea for random number generation is good, but not new.

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True randomness

Proving the concept will indeed be difficult -- in fact it will be impossible. Randomness is inherently unproveable.

A true random number generator could, in theory, put out the first 100 digits of pi at the time of observation*, and still be truly random; pseudorandom number generators are generally designed to never produce such a pattern (and hence are designed to be specifically not random.)

* "Extremely unlikely!" you cry. Yet it's as likely as 100 1's in a row, or any other 100-digit sequence. The odds of a truly random number generator producing any such sequence is exactly 1/10^100. You wouldn't be too suprised to see a random number generator generate 3 1 4, yet you'd suspect it if it generated 1 1 1. The point is, we observe finite phenomena, and randomness is an infinite property. One school of thought holds that a true random number generator, left to run for an infinite period of time, would produce every numeric pattern there is, including all of the digits of pi, an infinite number of 1's in a row, etc. Of course, that's not necessarily the case (see random.)

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Silver badge

True randomness

Proving the concept will indeed be difficult -- in fact it will be impossible. Randomness is inherently unproveable.

A true random number generator could, in theory, put out the first 100 digits of pi at the time of observation*, and still be truly random; pseudorandom number generators are generally designed to never produce such a pattern (and hence are designed to be specifically not random.)

* "Extremely unlikely!" you cry. Yet it's as likely as 100 1's in a row, or any other 100-digit sequence. The odds of a truly random number generator producing any such sequence is exactly 1/10^100. You wouldn't be too suprised to see a random number generator generate 3 1 4, yet you'd suspect it if it generated 1 1 1. The point is, we observe finite phenomena, and randomness is an infinite property. One school of thought holds that a true random number generator, left to run for an infinite period of time, would produce every numeric pattern there is, including all of the digits of pi, an infinite number of 1's in a row, etc. Of course, that's not necessarily the case (see random.)

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