Monday, May 17, 2010

#Quantum method generates faster random numbers

Random number generators are used in all kinds of algorithms besides encryption, and as computers get faster they need to be truly random, which can only be achieved with quantum effects, like the method illustrated here. Look for quantum mechanics to play an increasingly important role in computing throughout the rest of the decade. R.C.J.

Random numbers are usually not really random, since the methods by which a truly random number can be generated are few, far between and very slow to calculate. As a result, most applications in need of random numbers have to make do with pseudo-random numbers. Now researchers at the University of Illinois claim to have crafted a truly random number generation algorithm that is fast to execute. The new method is based on shaping the optical pulses from a laser diode and then digitizing the time interval between random photon arrivals at a detector. Based on quantum mechanics, which insures that the measured interval is truly random, the method can nevertheless be tuned to execute as fast as 100 Mbits per second today, with the potential to achieve 10 Gbits per second with planned improvements to its laser driver circuit and detector...
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