HotBits: Genuine random numbers, generated by radioactive decay

People working with computers often sloppily talk about their system's “random number generator” and the “random numbers” it produces. But numbers calculated by a computer through a deterministic process, cannot, by definition, be random. Given knowledge of the algorithm used to create the numbers and its internal state, you can predict all the numbers returned by subsequent calls to the algorithm, whereas with genuinely random numbers, knowledge of one number or an arbitrarily long sequence of numbers is of no use whatsoever in predicting the next number to be generated.

 mathematics computer statistics security cryptology random unpredictable radioactive

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