New method of producing random numbers could improve cybersecurity

May 16, 2016

With an advance that one cryptography expert called a “masterpiece,” University of Texas at Austin computer scientists have developed a new method for producing truly random numbers, a breakthrough that could be used to encrypt data, make electronic voting more secure, conduct statistically significant polls and more accurately simulate complex systems such as Earth’s climate.

The new method creates truly random numbers with less computational effort than other methods, which could facilitate significantly higher levels of security for everything from consumer credit card transactions to military communications.

Computer science professor David Zuckerman and graduate student Eshan Chattopadhyay will present research about their method in June at the annual Symposium on Theory of Computing (STOC), the Association for Computing Machinery’s premier theoretical computer science conference. An invitation to present at the conference is based on a rigorous peer review process to evaluate the work’s correctness and significance. Their paper will be one of three receiving the STOC Best Paper Award.

“This is a problem I’ve come back to over and over again for more than 20 years,” says Zuckerman. “I’m thrilled to have solved it.”

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