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In: Social Issues

Submitted By erinjayne

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Words 262

Pages 2

Randomness and random numbers have traditionally been used for a variety of purposes, for example games such as dice games. With the advent of computers, people recognized the need for a means for a means of introducing randomness into a computer program. Surprising as it may seem, however, it is difficult to get a computer to do something by chance. A computer running a program follows its instructions blindly and is therefore completely predictable.

Computer engineers chose to introduce randomness into computers in the form of pseudo-random number generators. As the name suggest, pseudo-numbers are not truly random. Rather, they are computed from a mathematical formula or simply taken from a pre-calculated list. A lot of research has gone into pseudo-random number theory and modern algorithms for random numbers have the characteristic that they are predictable, meaning they can be predicted if you know where in the sequence the first number is taken from. For some purposes, predictability, is a good characteristic, for others it is not.,

Random numbers are used for computer games but they are also used on a more serious scale for the generation of cryptographic keys are for some classes of scientific experiments. For scientific experiments, it is convenient that a series of random numbers can be replayed for use in several experiments, and pseudo-random numbers are well suited for this purpose. For cryptographic use, however, it is important that the numbers used to generate keys are not just seemingly random; they must be truly unpredictable.

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