Powerful random number generator launched on AWS

Wednesday, 27 April, 2022

Powerful random number generator launched on AWS

The Australian National University’s (ANU) ANU Quantum Numbers (AQN) is the world’s most powerful online random number generator. It uses quantum technology to generate true random numbers at high speed and in real time by measuring the quantum fluctuations of the vacuum.

From today, AQN will be available on AWS Marketplace, an online software store that helps customers find, buy and use software that runs on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Dr Syed Assad, one of the ANU researchers behind AQN, said a range of critical applications rely on random numbers.

“Random numbers are needed in IT, data science and modelling. Without random numbers you can’t have reliable models for forecasting and research simulation,” Assad said.

“But they are also used by artists to help with removing human biases from their creative work. In computer gaming and smart contracts, true random numbers are also an indispensable resource. We’ve even had a request from a father to generate random numbers that he then used as inspiration for his daughter’s name!”

AQN has been operating out of a lab on the ANU campus for the last 10 years and has had more than two billion requests for random numbers from 70 countries. To capitalise on the significant growth in demand for random numbers, ANU launched the service on AWS Marketplace to scale AQN and deliver the service faster and more reliably to more than 310,000 active AWS customers.

AQN has created numbers to assign participants in randomised clinical trials, simulate processes and events in computer games, generate secure passwords, simulate virus outbreak behaviours and predict the weather.

AQN Team leader Professor Ping Koy Lam said what made AQN distinct was its use of lasers at the quantum level.

“Quantum physics practically provides an infinite source of truly random numbers. These quantum random numbers are guaranteed by the laws of physics to be unpredictable and unbiased,” Lam said.

“This technology relies on the detection of vacuum. Vacuum is not a region of space that is completely empty and devoid of energy. In fact, it still contains noise at the quantum level.

“Through AWS Marketplace, ANU is offering an incredibly powerful source of randomness easily accessible to customers across the globe.”

According to ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt, the project highlights how science and research can directly translate to new useful technologies.

“The random number generator is a trailblazer and one of the best examples of how our researchers are taking their incredible know-how and expertise to the world.

“By hosting this service on AWS even more people will now have the ANU random number generator at their fingertips,” Schmidt said.

The AQN is now available online here.

Image: The team behind ANU Quantum Numbers — Dr Syed Assad, Dr Aaron Tranter and Professor Ping Koy Lam.

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