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Think of a random number between 1 and 10. Now, prove that it’s random – that it isn’t based on something to have influenced you to choose that specific number, or that your choice isn’t biased in any way. Turns out, this is harder than it sounds – there are, in turn, methods of proving that a number isn’t random through statistical analysis and trial and error.
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Why is it important if a number is random or not? And why are random numbers important at all? Well, that’s because a lot of our modern technology is built around them.
A random number is a sequence of numbers that can’t be foreseen and isn’t pre-determined in any way. It’s a bit like rolling a pair of dice or flipping a coin. But if you look closer, neither the dice nor the coins are ideal for generating random outcomes – not in the physical world anyway.
One of the most common uses for random numbers is in online gambling. All the casinos listed at playcasino.co.za use certified random number generators to ensure their games are fair. But their use goes way beyond just having fun online – especially in an area that’s way more important than slot machines and other games.
Random numbers are at the basis of cryptography which, in turn, makes our digital lives secure. Random numbers are used to generate encryption keys used in protocols including TLS and SSH, used in networking, email, and instant messaging apps, but also for money transfers and online banking.
Random numbers and modern technology
Random numbers are used in more areas than we give them credit for – they are the unseen force behind modern technology.
RAM is the acronym for “Random Access Memory”. Here, “random” refers to the fact that this technology uses random addressing schemes to distribute data efficiently across memory cells. Networks also use randomness to route data packets, thus avoiding congestion and making our data transfers faster.
Random numbers are also used for generating secure passwords and one-time passwords for two-factor authentication. In addition, they are used in video games to generate events, outcomes, and enemy behaviours that make the gameplay more dynamic.
But random numbers also play a role in the world outside technology. Statistics, epidemiology, and physics – all these use random numbers in simulations and data analysis.
The concept of randomness, while simple in theory, is a significant part of modern technology. From ensuring the fairness of online games to safeguarding our digital lives, random numbers underpin the security and functionality of a wide array of applications. In a large part, random numbers are the basis for our digital existence – they are the unsung heroes powering innovation in our interconnected and digitized world. Their role extends far beyond mere chance; they are the building blocks of trust, security, and dynamism in our technological landscape.