Totally Random

This is probably only of interest to me, but I’m posting it as a reminder to myself. A Swiss company called ID Quantique is offering a chip-sized source of true randomness based on an optical quantum process. They’ve partnered with the University of Geneva to create a random number generator Web site anyone can use.

Why do I care about true randomness? A while back, after reading the His Dark Materials trilogy, I decided that it would be neat to build a working alethiometer. It would consist of some simple electronics moving a needle around in a standard pocketwatch case. The needle would move around “randomly”, using a series of true random numbers to determine which symbols to point to.

True randomness from a quantum source would be key, because anything less would mean that the character sequence would be influenced by deterministic effects. Hm. That doesn’t sound quite right, so ask me to explain if you’re curious.

5 thoughts on “Totally Random

  1. Well, “influence” needs a “d” and then it would make total sense.

    I think it’s great – geek out, baby!

    ~d who is, herself, a randomness generator and wants to sign up to use the alethiometer

  2. Whoopsie! It’s been corrected.

    Yeah, I really wish I had a couple of extra lifetimes of free time, so I could work on all these fun projects…

  3. Are you ever going to get that interesting symbolic divination thing back up, Chris? That was based on a randomness generator, wasn’t it? Maybe even the same one?

    It was very interesting.

  4. Well, I’ve always thought of myself as frivolously eccentric rather than seriously crazy. Most people seem to agree, so I won’t worry about seeking medical help just yet. Thanks anyway.

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