# Randomness the need for a means of

Randomness and random numbers have traditionally been used for a variety of purposes, for example
games such as dice games. With the advent of computers, people recognized the need for a
means of introducing randomness into a computer program. Surprising as it may seem, however,
it is difficult to get a computer to do something by chance. A computer running a program follows
its instructions blindly and is therefore completely predictable.
Computer engineers chose to introduce randomness into computers in the form of pseudorandom
number generators. As the name suggests, pseudo-random numbers are not truly random.
Rather, they are computed from a mathematical formula or simply taken from a precalculated
list. A lot of research has gone into pseudo-random number theory and modern algorithms for
generating them are so good that the numbers look exactly like they were really random. Pseudorandom
numbers have the characteristic that they are predictable, meaning they can be predicted
if you know where in the sequence the first number is taken from. For some purposes, predictability
is a good characteristic, for others it is not.
Random numbers are used for computer games but they are also used on a more serious scale
for the generation of cryptographic keys and for some classes of scientific experiments. For scientific
experiments, it is convenient that a series of random numbers can be replayed for use in several
experiments, and pseudo-random numbers are well suited for this purpose. For cryptographic use,
however, it is important that the numbers used to generate keys are not just seemingly random;
they must be truly unpredictable.

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