Pseudorandomness

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Pseudorandomness is a process which has a result that seems to be random. Even if the result seems to be random, the process can be predicted.[1]

This near random process is important to online security.[2] Because the result can be predicted, it is important that the "seed,"(or first input) and the process are kept hidden.[3]

History[change | change source]

The creation of random numbers has many uses, mostly in statistics, and simulations. Before computers, researchers that needed random numbers would get them from dice, cards, roulette wheels,[4] etc, or by random number tables.

The first attempt to crate a large amount of random numbers was in 1927. This was when Cambridge University Press put out a list of 41,600 numbers made by L.H.C. Tippett. In 1947, the RAND Corporation created random numbers by simulating a roulette wheel using a computer.[4] The results were published in 1955 with the title of, "A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates".

Unpredictability as "near random"[change | change source]

By using radioactive substances with radioactive decay, or by tuning a radio between stations, near random numbers can be created for short amounts of time.[1] The time needed to get these numbers led to a change. This was using these generated numbers as a "seed" instead of a result. The less numbers created by this process, the more random the result would seem. Another compromise is to combine the timings between keystrokes of multiple people.[5]

People's actions have been proven to be useful for Multi-factor authentication.[6] Also, studies have shown that pseudo random numbers can sometimes be predicted. This becomes more difficult when in small amounts.

In computational complexity[change | change source]

In theoretical computer science, a distribution (set of numbers) is considered to be pseudorandom if it is similar enough to other sets. This idea of pseudorandomness is studied and has importance in cryptography.

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 George Johnson (June 12, 2001). "Connoisseurs of Chaos Offer A Valuable Product: Randomness". The New York Times.
  2. "The inherent flaws of Proof-of-Stake".
  3. Mark Ward (August 9, 2015). "Web's random numbers are too weak, researchers warn". BBC.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "A Million Random Digits". RAND Corporation. Retrieved 2017-03-30.
  5. Jonathan Knudson (January 1998). "Javatalk: Horseshoes, hand grenades and random numbers". Sun Server. pp. 16–17.
  6. Eze Vidra (November 6, 2007). "Science Fiction? ClassifEye's Biometric Authentication for Cell Phones".

Further reading[change | change source]