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According to Space.com (This article and its images were originally posted on Space.com October 10, 2018 at 07:59AM.)
You take the interstate to get home and rely on the water utility for a drink. But have you ever felt the need for some publicly available randomness?
Governments and researchers around the world think you might, with projects in the works to produce public sources, or “beacons,” of randomness. From quantum-physics experiments to distributed projects that anyone with a laptop could help produce, a wide range of efforts aim to bring randomness to your fingertips.
Publicly available randomness helps ensure online security, free elections and fair immigration practices — and may even help address deep questions about the nature of the universe. But producing these randomness beacons — secure, truly random numbers that the public can trust — poses huge challenges, sending researchers into the quantum realm and beyond in search of fundamentally unpredictable phenomena. Here’s why scientists see randomness as a public utility — and how they’re trying to make a mess for your sake.
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