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Lava Lamp Randomness

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Author:Ivars Peterson (MathTrek)
Description: Researchers have come up with a novel application of the mesmerizing movements of the lava lamp's globules. They use them as the starting point for generating a sequence of random numbers. Called lavarand, the random-number generator is the tongue-in-cheek work of Robert G. Mende Jr., Landon Curt Noll, and Sanjeev Sisodiya of Silicon Graphics in Mountain View, Calif. Random numbers are an immensely valuable commodity, not only for the operation of computer-based slot machines but also for computer simulations and for generating the secret strings of digits required to encode and decode sensitive information in cryptographic systems.

Levels: High School (9-12), College
Languages: English
Resource Types: Articles
Math Topics: Number Theory, Cryptography

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