RANDOM NUMBERS

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Welcome! This page is dedicated to random numbers. Do you think there is nothing to write about? That is definitely not correct! Just try to define the randomness, think about what it means, how things come into existence randomly? We have so many rules for the whole world, is there really a phenomenom of randomness or is it only the academic topic?

What does RANDOM mean?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines RANDOM: Having no definite aim or purpose; not sent or guided in a particular direction; made, done, occurring, etc., without method or conscious choice; haphazard. Quite strange definition isn't it?. Of course there are many other definitions.

Random numbers come up in daily life all the time. Or do they? The static on TV, the order of a deck of shuffled cards or thrown dice, lottery numbers, draw winners, all may seem like random numbers, but in fact all are governed by rules. In fact, even with all the computational power in the world, it's impossible to generate truly random numbers. While it's possible to come quite close, by the nature of programming there is always a pattern to the numbers that appear. The only question is how discernible that pattern is.

How to generate random number?

Random number generation has its uses in today's society. Gambling is the obvious one. Dealing out a deck of cards for blackjack or poker needs to be as random as possible, to avoid card-counters gaming the system. Likewise, slot machines need to be random, so patterns won't be detected and exploited. Statistics uses random numbers for sampling data. Cryptography and other high-end computer programming tasks can require a high degree of randomness to add security. Even websites with 'random facts' are not truly random, but use a random generator to determine what fact to display.

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Some randomness is measured from nature. From coin flips to radio noise to subatomic particle decay, the results may seem random but the act of measuring them often imparts a bias to the data. If nothing else, certain mechanical measurements are readable through the trails they leave in measured data. Some physical methods of establishing randomness today include measuring atmospheric radio noise and measuring radioactive decay, as these are tied to quantum mechanics and uncertainty.

Even so, mathematical functions can provide numbers suitably random for various tasks. Picking a random digit string out of Pi, or running a linear function and choosing a stream of numbers from its output, are both examples. The simpler the function doing the picking, the easier it is to spot the pattern and thus reverse-engineer whatever is supposed to be random. This is bad news for encryption and security. The good news is, sufficiently complex random number generators can create exceptional degrees of randomness.

Random number generators

Most random number generators today are sophisticated enough for all but the most demanding purposes. More random than a dice throw, less random than true chaos. They're all that is necessary for nearly any consumer application.