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Random numbers game with quantum dice
Date:9/9/2010

This release is available in German.

Behind every coincidence lies a plan - in the world of classical physics, at least. In principle, every event, including the fall of dice or the outcome of a game of roulette, can be explained in mathematical terms. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Light in Erlangen have constructed a device that works on the principle of true randomness. With the help of quantum physics, their machine generates random numbers that cannot be predicted in advance. The researchers exploit the fact that measurements based on quantum physics can only produce a special result with a certain degree of probability, that is, randomly. True random numbers are needed for the secure encryption of data and to enable the reliable simulation of economic processes and changes in the climate. (Nature Photonics online publication, August 29, 2010)

The phenomenon we commonly refer to as chance is merely a question of a lack of knowledge. If we knew the location, speed and other classical characteristics of all of the particles in the universe with absolute certainty, we would be able to predict almost all processes in the world of everyday experience. It would even be possible to predict the outcome of a puzzle or lottery numbers. Even if they are designed for this purpose, the results provided by computer programs are far from random: "They merely simulate randomness but with the help of suitable tests and a sufficient volume of data, a pattern can usually be identified," says Christoph Marquardt. In response to this problem, a group of researchers working with Gerd Leuchs and Christoph Marquardt at the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Light and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and Ulrik Andersen from the Technical University of Denmark have developed a generator for true random numbers.

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Contact: Dr. Christoph Marquardt
Christoph.Marquardt@mpl.mpg.de
49-913-168-77129
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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