The number of applications requiring random numbers increases continuously. They are used for example in cryptographic applications to guarantee the secrecy of electronic communications, in scientific calculations or in chance games and lotteries. In spite of this, their generation remains a difficult task. The Group of Applied Physics and the Computer Science Department of the University of Geneva team with the company id Quantique to launch the first website allowing to download random numbers from quantum origin and to make true random numbers widely available.
The website – conveniently located under the web address www.randomnumbers.info - offers the possibility to request a sequence of random numbers. The user can specify the length and the bounds of the sequence. A quantum random number generator connected to the server is used to produce the numbers on demand. This website will evolve and expand in the future to become the reference resource on randomness and random numbers on the internet.
According to Nicolas Gisin, professor at the Group of Applied Physics of the University of Geneva, “Quantum physics is the only physical theory predicting that the outcome of certain phenomena is random. It is thus a natural choice to use it to generate true random numbers.” The Group of Applied Physics developed in 1998 the first practical quantum random number generator. This device exploited an elementary quantum optical process – namely the reflection or the transmission of a light particle on a semi-transparent mirror – to produce binary random numbers.
This quantum random number generator was commercialized by the company id Quantique, a spin-off of the University of Geneva. “The Quantum Random Number Generator met a great commercial success. This is why we have decided to develop a second generation, which will introduce at the Cebit 2004 trade show in Hanover” said Gregoire Ribordy, CEO of id Quantique.
The Computer Science department of the University of Geneva has developed a server/client application for scientist from around the world to be able to download random numbers directly in the C, C+, Fortran or Java codes used for their simulations. “The first prototype is in function. Depending on the reaction of the scientific community, future developments such as the creation of a network of servers are under consideration” said Stefan Marconi, project leader at the Computer Science department.
The automatic generation of random numbers in scientific applications has always been a serious subject of discussion since a machine cannot produce such numbers without the use of a rule. The pseudorandom numbers are thus completely deterministic and can sometimes introduce unwanted bias in the phenomena under study. “I remember distinguished colleagues of mine having to withdraw a publication from a journal because they realized the physical effect they had discovered was in fact due to the pseudorandom generator” said Bastien Chopard, professor at the Group of Scientific and Parallel Computing.
From a practical point of view, the website and the server will be hosted by the IT Division of the University of Geneva and will be jointly maintained by the partners. “I am glad to host and to provide this new service to the community. It is a perfect example of how the IT Division can provide expertise for production and offer a real scale test bed for projects developed by research teams” said Alain Jacot-Descombes, Head of the IT Division.
This initiative is another example of an original collaboration between a public research institution and a private company.
More articles from Physics and Astronomy:
CU-Boulder scientist: 2012 solar storm points up need for society to prepare
10.12.2013 | University of Colorado at Boulder
3D printing used as a tool to explain theoretical physics
09.12.2013 | Institute of Physics
A unique solar panel design made with a new ceramic material points the way to potentially providing sustainable power cheaper, more efficiently, and requiring less manufacturing time.
It also reaches a four-decade-old goal of discovering a bulk photovoltaic material that can harness energy from visible and infrared light, not just ultraviolet light.
Scaling up this new design from its tablet-size prototype to a full-size solar panel would be a large step toward making solar power affordable compared with ...
Atlantische Flohkrebse pflanzen sich jetzt auch in arktischen Gewässern fort
Biologen des Alfred-Wegener-Institutes, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung (AWI), haben zum ersten Mal nachgewiesen, dass sich in den arktischen Gewässern westlich Spitzbergens auch Flohkrebse aus dem wärmeren Atlantik fortpflanzen.
Diese überraschende Entdeckung deute auf einen möglichen Wandel der arktischen Zooplankton-Gemeinschaft hin, berichten die Wissenschaftler und Wissenschaftlerinnen in der Fachzeitschrift Marine Ecology ...
The molecular architecture of three key proteins and their complexes reveals how plants fine-tune their immune response to pathogens
Plants rarely get sick in their natural environment. When the threat of infection arises, a quick decision is made about the necessary countermeasures. The course is set by a protein which forms complexes with its partner proteins for this purpose.
Jane Parker from the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding ...
Researchers studying speciation of butterfly orchids on the Azores have been startled to discover that the answer to a long-debated question "Do the islands support one species or two species?" is actually "three species".
Hochstetter's Butterfly-orchid, newly recognized following application of a battery of scientific techniques and reveling in a complex taxonomic history worthy of Sherlock Holmes, is arguably Europe's rarest orchid species. Under threat in its mountain-top retreat, the orchid urgently requires conservation recognition.
A lavishly illustrated publication, titled "Systematic revision of Platanthera in ...
Researchers from Brown University and the University of Hawaii have found some mineralogical surprises in the Moon's largest impact crater.
Data from the Moon Mineralogy Mapper that flew aboard India's Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter shows a diverse mineralogy in the subsurface of the giant South Pole Aitken basin.
The differing mineral signatures could be reflective of the minerals dredged up at the time of the giant impact 4 billion years ago, ...
12.12.2013 | Life Sciences
12.12.2013 | Earth Sciences
12.12.2013 | Studies and Analyses
11.12.2013 | Event News
10.12.2013 | Event News
05.12.2013 | Event News