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WikiProject Mathematics (Rated Start-class, Mid-priority)
WikiProject Mathematics
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Mathematics rating:
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 Field: Discrete mathematics

I dispute the statement in the second paragraph, that says "To date there is no known method to produce true randomness, because due to the very nature of randomness, any factor determining the outcome would mean that it is not random at all." And have provided two counter-examples, in the Lavarand and LavaRnd systems, which claim to generate "truly" or "totally" random numbers, according to various sources, including Wikipedia, Wired Magazine, and the US Patent Office.

I'll leave it to math-heads and crypto-heads to hammer out the finer points of whether it's truly random or merely pseudorandom, as I'm not clear enough on the differences to judge. In any event, the LavaRnd site claims that it is a cryptographically sound random number generator, so we can at least trust our banking & stuff to it, even if it doesn't meet the Platonic ideal of a truly random generator.


PatrickSalsbury 12:01, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

I have removed the bit about Lavarand and LavaRnd for now. The LavaRnd website does not seem to indicate that they can generate true randomness; it's just statistically random. I haven't read the Wired article completely, but I don't think that they explicitly claim that Lavarand is truly random. I you really feel strongly that this belongs in the article, it could go into the 'almost random' section or something, rather than the introductory section. Nath 19:32, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

Is the claim that no one can now produce true randomness limited to algorithms in deterministic machines? Otherwise, why can't passing an electron through a magnetic field count? Get Stern-Gerlach magnets properly oriented and the spin results (where of two places the electron lands on a photoelectric plate) are unpredictable, 50/50. Granted, Einstein and others expected that there would turn out to be hidden variables to determine this process (thereby disqualifying it for true randomness) but the standard theory, Bohr's Copenhagen Interpretation, denies this and there is supposed to be lots of support (experiments confirming that the Bell inequalities hold) this view. So, as I understand it, our standard theory says we can and do produce true randomness.Jcblackmon 17:17, 27 May 2007 (UTC)jcblackmon

Yes, I think the claim is limited to deterministic machines. Nath 02:49, 7 June 2007 (UTC)
That caveat should probably be made explicit. I had much the same reaction: quantum processes do exhibit true randomness. 04:06, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

"The World War II Japanese PURPLE cypher machine used for diplomatic communications is a good example. It was consistently broken throughout WWII, and indeed from somewhat before the United States entered that war..." - what does the US have to do with this? Have removed. (talk) 12:11, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

The value of pseudorandom numbers could be better explained[edit]

How and why are these valuable in statistics, medical trials, cryptography, network security, et cetera. The first instances of these were developed in the 19th century by the British, I believe. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:02, 17 June 2011 (UTC)