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What Are Random Number Generators And Why Are They Important?

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Almost everything in the world is random. Sure, we’ve built structure into our modern lifestyles with planned cities, infrastructure, and our daily routines, but everything natural on planet earth and in the entire universe is completely random.

Computers, on the other hand, suck at being random. They can only do as they are told, which requires someone to code a set of instructions for them to follow. This, of course, is not even remotely random and with enough time, effort, and patience, you would be able to reverse engineer any supposedly random outputs generated by a standard piece of computer software.

While it may not seem like it, this is a problem as randomness is required for all sorts of important elements of life.

That’s where random number generators come in. These clever pieces of technology are vital for keeping the modern world moving. But what exactly are they, how do they work, and why are they so important?

What is a Random Number Generator?

COPYRIGHT_WI: Published on https://washingtonindependent.com/ebv/what-are-random-number-generators-and-why-are-they-important/ by Jaya Mckeown on 2022-11-02T01:42:07.527Z

A random number generator is a piece of software that can generate numbers entirely randomly. They’re different from pseudo-random number generators in that they don’t just appear random but are genuinely and provably random.

So why pseudo-random number generators may use complex code to obfuscate the process they go through to arrive at an output, a true random number generator will often take an external input from the outside world.

There’s no set way to do this and the creators of random number generators have got very creative over the years. Some use radio listening equipment to detect background radio waves while others have built an entire wall of lava lamps and pointed a camera at them.

Since these inputs are completely unpredictable, they make it easy for take their data, manipulate it, and spit out a random number in the format you need.

Uses for Random Number Generators

So now we know how a random number generator works, but what’s the point? Here are some of the biggest and most important uses for them.

Number-generators
Number-generators

Keeping Online Casino Games Fair

In land-based casinos, it’s easy to ensure fairness because cards can be physically shuffled and dice physically rolled but this isn’t possible when you play online.

So to keep online casino games fair and truly random, a random number generator is used to produce the outcomes, as the case of the RPT slots for example.

This is especially important for video slots where they have to stick to a defined return to player (RTP) rate. This is advertised by the casino to show how much a player can, on average, expect to receive back from their wagers over a long period of playing.

The RTP is not guaranteed for each player in the short so some can expect to receive more and others less, but the advertised percentage would be achieved if you played it for hundreds of thousands or millions of spins.

The combination of the randomness from the random number generator and the manipulation of its inputs by the game combine to achieve the RTP over this very long period while maintaining fairness and excitement for players.

Ensuring Security With Encryption

We need passwords for everything today. Your phone, computer, online accounts, bank cards, and even to get into buildings.

These passwords are part of a system of encryption to keep data secret from prying eyes and bad actors.

Encryption is, in its most basic form, a system of complicated mathematics that change strings of numbers into different numbers. They use very long strings of letters and numbers, known as keys, to encrypt and decrypt the data, working in such a way that it’s easy to protect it but difficult to access it again unless you have the correct key. To achieve this, random number generators are used to produce a secure key.

The file encryption tool Vera Crypt does this by having the user move their mouse around the screen for the best part of a minute to create a totally unique and completely random string. In fact, the application even advises users that the longer they do this for, the more secure their data will be as it significantly increases the randomness and size of the key.

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About The Authors

Jaya Mckeown

Jaya Mckeown - Jaya moved to Boston from New York to pursue a master's degree in corporate communications at Emerson College. This experience, combined with her undergraduate degree in psychology and teaching, has equipped her with valuable skills that she employs on a daily basis in real estate negotiations, homebuyer and seller education, and successful promotion of the team's listings. Jaya's clients often characterize her as meticulous, proactive, and enjoyable to be around.

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