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Computer Science 07.105

Second Term 1995


Random Numbers, Encryption, and Hashing


Robert Uzgalis

Computer Science Department

University of Auckland






Introduction

This set of class notes depends on your understanding both the `Bits and Bytes' class notes and to a lesser extent the `Hermes Computer' class notes. This set of class notes will explore the basic ideas of data protection, data retrieval, and simulation.

These ideas are not primarily academic. They are ideas you will want to use. So again understanding them is worth the effort. Even the examples that show how not to do something have been picked because they are common, but not a good way, to do things. You should learn and practice a better way.



Random Numbers



Luck has always been high on the agenda of human preoccupations.
Betting on games of chance has fascinated people since before history. In Greece and Rome it was embodied in the goddess
Fortuna.

Perhaps our fascination with the unpredictable comes from the role it plays in forming our lives. Your co-worker at the next desk decides to start a company, and he hires you with stock options and a small salary to start a little software company called Microsoft. You are now a multi-billionaire. Do you take credit for it? You put yourself at the right place at the right time, didn't you? You agreed to go to work for him, didn't you? It was your decision, wasn't it? So really there was no luck involved. Depending on how you view the answers to the questions, one calls it either luck or good fortune that made you rich. Luck is an eternal source of human fascination.

What is there to understand about luck? In what ways can we make it rational and understandable? How can we tame it? Can computers create randomness? Can programs be unpredictable? This set of class notes is devoted to giving you a first glimpse of these ideas.





Footnotes:

Copyright 1995 Robert Uzgalis; All rights reserved.






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Copyright 1995 Robert Uzgalis. All Rights Reserved.
Contact: buz@cs.aukuni.ac.nz