Random numbers are extremely important in the world of computing, but we currently have no way to make those created numbers truly random.
The algorithms currently used are not really random, and this causes problems in some fundamental simulators for the study of nature.
Now there is a new step in that direction. Researchers at Brown University have found a way to harness fluctuations in quasiparticles to generate millions of truly random numbers every second.
Relying on deterministic algorithms is dangerous, as anyone with enough information about how the algorithm works could find patterns and predict the numbers produced. They are valid for games and basic programs, but not for scientific simulations or cybersecurity.
To find something truly random we have to go to quantum physics, using photons to generate strings of random ones and zeros or harnessing the quantum vibrations of diamond.
Brown scientists have used skyrmions, which are particle-like effects that arise from the arrangement of electrons.
They created magnetic thin films with defects that held the skyrmions in place. This causes them to randomly fluctuate in size, shrinking and growing, with each size producing different voltages across the material, thus creating truly random numbers.
This technique could produce up to 10 million random digits per second, making it big news in the world of cybersecurity.
The research was published in the journal Nature Communications.