Random Number
Generators
RNG
& PRNG
Copyright
2011 Jafco. All rights reserved.
The Random Number Generator and the Fate of Luck
A random number
generator or RNG is a device, either physical or computational that has been
designed to create sequences of numbers that appear random. There are many applications
requiring the creation of random numbers including, computer security systems,
forecasting and of course online Gambling.
Physical methods for
selecting random sequences have been used for centuries, from its simplest form
of tossing a coin to represent two possible outcomes to modern day lottery
machines, drawing from a wider random number selection.
Other random generators
link to physical states such as temperature, noise, wind, or a combination
thereof. Many of the older generation will remember the rumour that circulated
in the 70’s regarding the way in which slot machines seemed to pay out once
they were fully warmed up. In fact there was certainly something to this,
though it was not a simple case of the ‘hotter the better’.
The above methods of
physical random number selection required a lot of work, especially if ever to
be used on a grand scale. These issues have been reasonably resolved with the
introduction of computational random generators which can be linked to physical
factors such as time and noise or they can be 100% computational in the form of
Pseudorandom number generators or PRNGs which are algorithms that can create
massive sequences of supposed random numbers. I say ‘supposed random’ numbers
because as the ‘pseudo’ name suggests this method is anything but truly
random!! It is also an area of great interest to me in that having spent many
years involved in problem solving I am very aware that something fake or
imitation like this is often far easier to see through and resolve, than
something that may be real.
PseudoRandom
Number
Generators
Before we can start the
pseudorandom number generator it will require an initial value or random seed
number first. The random seed is all important as it is this number to which
the chosen random generator algorithm will be applied. If security or the
predetermination of the resulting numbers are intended to be unknown, as in
the case of online gambling, then the random seed must be secret. When a player
knows both the random seed number and the algorithm being applied then he/she
could fairly easily tell you the next number in roulette or may be the next
playing card.!!
The key point is that
these algorithms may have an incredibly large cycle but it is still all
predetermined and can be known by those who set the seed number or otherwise
by anyone with a powerful enough and smart enough computer and program to
locate the precise point within a particular cycle of any one particular random
seed. When the computer locates the correct position it would then be able to
predict the next number. Some say that this will happen with the coming of
quantum computers, though I still believe it can be done now, based on the fact
that we can always input theoretical seed numbers, wait for the match, then
confirm the match within minutes and finally just go with the flow !!
jafcoroulette.com
The Random Seed
Number
To initialize the random
number selection a seed number or ‘first value’ is entered from where the
algorithm will take over and generate numbers in the desired format, depending
on the type of application. Naturally there also needs to be a device for
selecting a seed, and number randomly too. This is an another interesting area
because the choices of how this is done may be unlimited but many of them
relate to time, dates etc and that would be defeating the object of randomness
before we have even started. This is not as straightforward as it may first
appear but is perhaps another opening for possible opportunities for those
interested in cracking the system!
Predicting the random
seed number from nothing is virtually impossible but determining the process
for seed selection would certainly open doors.
ERNIE
Electronic Random
Number
Indicator
Equipment
ERNIE was introduced in
1957 to draw UK premium Bond Winners in a random manner. There have been 4 versions over the years and they say that if the first version was still
operating today it would require 52 days to compute the full results of each
draw.
ERNIE is an enigma to me
in that it is claimed that it cannot be programmed, and because of that the
number produced cannot be predetermined.
Since we know that
random generator algorithms require the input of a seed number and because we
know the results are predeterminable this would suggest that ERNIE is not a
Pseudo random number generator.
I am not suggesting that
this can be taken advantage or anything but as a curiosity point I had always
earlier thought that it was one of the very earliest PRNG based system, and to
be frank I am still not sure.
The
Mersenne Twister
The Mersenne Twister is
probably both the best known and most used Pseudorandom number generator
algorithm in the world of online gambling. The Mersenne Twister was developed
in Japan in 1997 by Makoto Matsumoto and Takuji
Nishimura.
There are two versions,
each creating a different sequence and known as the MT 19937 and the
MT1993764. The first was proven to have a period of 19937 which is an almost
unimaginable size. Try to Imagine 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 and doing that 19937 times and
you get an idea of how many possible outcomes this algorithm can create. Bear
in mind that however big this number is, it still doubled in size on the 19938^{th} time.
A Google is the largest
number with its own name and is a 1 followed by 100 zeros. If there is an
expert out there, I would be very interested to know how many Googles would
represent the size of the Mersenne Twister period. And whilst on the subject,
might I comment on what great names were chosen for such a huge search engine
and a gigantic twisting algorithm using a Mersenne prime.
Like other pseudorandom
generators the Mersenne Twister will require a random seed number to start the
process. Online roulette players should not be fooled by the first number on
the roulette number board as this is not the random seed number as it will be
quietly somewhere else and probably under lock and key. There is more
information about the implementation and interpretation of the Mersenne Twister
in my notes about Online Gambling.
Physical Random
Number Generators
Time
As we said, sometimes
the random number selection process will relate to a so called random physical
event in nature. In fact one of the most obvious examples of this would be to
link the random number generation to time itself. This is frequently used in
many areas of random number generation, perhaps even using the computer’s
clock. When it comes to generating secure pseudo  randomness it would be
fairly risky to use time as the primary source for generating random numbers as
this can be tracked and therefore another area of great personal interest in
terms of the extent to which this happens with online gambling.
It may not happen
anymore but not that long ago there were a some roulette machines inside
betting shops and when you pressed the start button on each machine at exactly
the same moment one would get the same number result. This was fairly
interesting though couldn’t be used to predict anything but it demonstrated
more clearly to me than anything else that the generator in this situation had
to be in some ways linked to time.
Perlin
Noise
Noise is another
supposedly random physical feature in nature that can also be linked to random
number generation. Perlin Noise was one such example, developed by Ken Perlin,
and most frequently used in the generation of computer graphics and animation.
It’s not a case of normal everyday noise, as that of course would be subjected
to environmental change and of no use at all.
Radio sound is most
commonly used, as indeed it is at random.org a website that offers huge random
number generation for free. I’m no scientist but when I think of radio waves
and just the use of noise generally, I have this feeling urging me to explore
further in the hope that perhaps the precise type of noise being used might
have some sort of quantifiable variation, pattern or bias.
Having read this brief
description you may well find you have more questions than answers and that’s
the problem, so do I. On the surface of it, with numbers coming out in a pseudo
fashion, on a predetermined course and with numbers being created by physical
events that may well have as yet unknown pattern properties, it’s easy to see
why one might be interested and indeed I have written up separately some of my
own interpretations of this in relation to Online Roulette & Online Gambling
in general.
Keywords relating to this roulette article; Random, Randomness, Psuedo
random Algorithms Mersenne Twister
Seed Number
Copyright 2011 Jafco. All rights
reserved.
Jafcoroulette.com
