ANU random numbers go global

Friday 29 April 2022 10am

ANU launches world's most popular online random number generator powering research simulations and gaming, and inspiring artists' works and children's names on  Amazon Web Services' marketplace. 

The Australian National University's (ANU) ANU Quantum Numbers (AQN) is the world's most popular and 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), an company.

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," Dr 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," Professor 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."

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt said: "It's great to see fundamental science and research directly translated into new technologies and products that people and businesses all around the globe can use.

"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 AQN at their fingertips."

Iain Rouse, AWS Managing Director for Worldwide Public Sector in Australia and New Zealand, said: "We are committed to helping customers like ANU solve challenging problems by leveraging cloud with ground-breaking innovation like ANU Quantum Numbers.

"Unbiased and true random numbers are a fundamental resource in many of today's applications, and by making AQN available on AWS Marketplace, hundreds of thousands of customers around the world can now tap into AQN's world-leading capability without having a knowledge of quantum physics."


Professor Ping Koy Lam
T: (02)61258378

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