A team of researchers, including one of Indian-origin have developed a new method for producing truly random numbers – a breakthrough that could be used to encrypt data and improve cyber security.
A method has been developed by Computer scientists at the University of Texas at Austin that can be used to make electronic voting more secure, conduct statistically significant polls and more accurately simulate complex systems such as Earth’s climate.
It creates truly random numbers with less computational effort than other methods, which could significantly facilitate higher levels of security for everything from consumer credit card transactions to military communications.
The new method was detailed in a paper by two researchers from the University of Texas - Prof David Zuckerman and graduate student Eshan Chattopadhyay - and was first published online in July 2015. It took nearly two weak random sequences of numbers and turns them into one sequence of truly random numbers. These weak random sequences, such as air temperatures and stock market prices sampled over time, harbour predictable patterns. Truly random sequences have nothing predictable about them, like a coin toss.
Prior to this the earlier researchers were less practical because they either required that one of the two source sequences be truly random (which presents a chicken or the egg problem) or that both source sequences be close to truly random, researchers said. Random numbers are important for computer encryption, scientific modelling, etc. According to Zuckerman, “there are already methods for producing high-quality random numbers, they are very computationally demanding. This method produces higher quality randomness with less effort. One common way that encryption is misused is by not using high-quality randomness. So in that sense, by making it easier to get high-quality randomness, our methods could improve security”.
This new method for computer-generating random numbers is hailed as "remarkable", and could help improve computer security.