*A Million Random Digits*

The Rand Corporation published *A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates* back in 1955, when generating random numbers was hard.

The random digits in the book were produced by rerandomization of a basic table generated by an electronic roulette wheel. Briefly, a random frequency pulse source, providing on the average about 100,000 pulses per second, was gated about once per second by a constant frequency pulse. Pulse standardization circuits passed the pulses through a 5-place binary counter. In principle the machine was a 32-place roulette wheel which made, on the average, about 3000 revolutions per trial and produced one number per second. A binary-to-decimal converter was used which converted 20 of the 32 numbers (the other twelve were discarded) and retained only the final digit of two-digit numbers; this final digit was fed into an IBM punch to produce finally a punched card table of random digits.

I have a copy of the original book; it’s one of my library’s prize possessions. I had no idea that the book was reprinted in 2002; it’s available on Amazon. But even if you don’t buy it, go to the Amazon page and read the user reviews. They’re hysterical.

This is what I said in *Applied Cryptography*:

The meat of the book is the “Table of Random Digits.” It lists them in five-digit groups — “10097 32533 76520 13586 …” — 50 on a line and 50 lines on a page. The table goes on for 400 pages and, except for a particularly racy section on page 283 which reads “69696,” makes for a boring read.

nzruss • October 13, 2006 12:39 PM

Figuring out that your ‘enemy’ is using this book (that you can get too), certainly cuts down on the brute force required.