ANU sells quantum random numbers through AWS

Brandon How

To help scale its services, the Australian National University’s quantum random number generator is now available through the Amazon Web Service Marketplace.

ANU Quantum Numbers (AQN) has been run out of the university for 10 years and is the world’s most powerful online random number generator. It has received more than two billion number generation requests across 70 countries.

Through the AWS Marketplace, users can make 100 random number requests per second, at a cost of US$0.005 per request. Alternatively, a custom plan can be negotiated directly with AQN or a free trial plan limited to 100 requests per month can be subscribed to. The quantum random number generator (QRNG) API is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

ANU Australian National University
Quantum random numbers produced at ANU can be purchased on the Amazon Web Services Marketplace.

AQN researcher Dr Syed Assad said random numbers are used in a number of important applications.

“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!”

Compared with pseudorandom number generators, which will always produce the same sequence of random numbers, two identical QRNGs will never produce correlated number sequences, even if in the same environment with the same conditions.

AQN team leader Professor Ping Koy Lam said that the quantum random numbers are “guaranteed by the laws of physics to be unpredictable and unbiased”.

ANU vice-chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt welcomed the announcement as an example of successful research translation.

“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,” Professor Schmidt said.

“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.”

The AQN team produces true random numbers by measuring real-time quantum fluctuations in a vacuum using a laser. The numbers are generated at the ANU Quantum Optics group lab in the ANU Department of Quantum Science. Quantum cybersecurity company Quintessence Labs, which became an ANU spin-off in 2008, also collaborates with the Quantum Optics group.

AWS managing director for worldwide public sector in Australia and New Zealand Iain Rouse added that the announcement would give customers access to AQN’s capability without requiring knowledge of quantum physics.

Research undertake by the ANU Quantum Optics group is also largely a part of the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication technology.

Casual seekers of randomness can experience visual and aural interpretations of the random numbers generated at the ANU QRNG website.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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