Sunday, October 4, 2009

CopyCat:: Web Random Bits

I found these problems by Muthu (@Google) quite interesting and funny. So I like to repost them:

"We often need random bits. People toss a coin or use noise from transistors or whatever to obtain random bits in reality. Here are two tasks.
  • Devise a method to get random bits from the web. The procedure should not use network phenomenon such as round trip delay time to random hosts etc, but rather should be at application level. Likewise, the procedure should not be to go to a website which tosses coins for you. Rather, it should use some existing web phenomenon or content. Btw, quantifying/discussing potential biases will be nice.
  • Devise a method for two people to coordinate and get public random bits from the web. The method can't assume that two people going to a website simultaneously will see identical content or be able to synchronize perfectly.
Of course, it should be fast and fun."

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