Posts in Misc

Pitfalls in generating random numbers on quantum computers

  • 20 December 2021
  • Misc

One of the first things many beginning quantum practitioners do is try to exploit the random nature of quantum measurements to build a basic random number generator. Typically they do this via one or more Hadamard gates, and then quickly post an issue saying they do not observe the expected 50/50 outcome of 0’s and 1’s. Taking this a step further, many companies are looking to commercializing quantum random number generation (QRNG) as a service. These services usually are marketed with words like “true randomness” or “quantum certified”. Recently news spread of a new QRNG service from Cambridge Quantum Computing (CQC) called Quantum Origin. CQC is now part of Quantinuum, a joint venture with Honeywell Quantum Solutions. This service even has a collection of Partners attributed to it.

The materials available from CQC suggest that this is essentially the same service as that introduced by CQC and IBM over a year ago. This service has been a part of Qiskit since the announcement has the qiskit-rng module. Given that this is open source software, we can play around with the code to see why the underlying QRNG method can never be truly “certified” as being quantum in origin.

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