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The Random button on a CD player, for example, falls woefully short of its name.When you press it, you never hear the same song twice or three times or even ten times in a row, which would have to be possible in a truly random set.Producing these combinations is a painstaking process. The 42-year-old mathematician and cryptographer for computer security firm System Experts has been tinkering with random number generators, or RNGs, for nearly a decade - an exercise in bringing order to chaos.

Random numbers also play a crucial role in lotteries and gambling. In 1955, the Rand Corporation published , a massive tome filled with tables of random numbers.He codiscovered the 25th and 26th Mersenne primes, which, if you're keeping score at home, are 2, respectively.With Lava Rnd, Noll is letting others get in on the mathematical fun.Such systems are often referred to as pseudo-random number generators.RNGs attempt to get around this shortcoming by generating seeds from a number of seemingly unpredictable sources.(Patent 5,732,138: "Method for seeding a pseudo-random number generator with a cryptographic hash of a digitization of a chaotic system.") The Web site attracted millions of visitors.

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