Random Number Generators
Any one who considers arithmetical methods of producing random digits is, of course, in a state of sin. For . . . there is no such thing as a random number—there are only methods to produce random numbers, and a strict arithmetic, procedure of course is not such a method.
—John von Neumann, in a 1951 paper in which the use of the plural numbers is crucial in understanding the distinction he is making.
The very idea of a deterministic machine like a computer creating random numbers seems to be an oxymoron. Random numbers are, well, random, while a computer is supposed to be an utterly predictable gadget. Indeed, no one has ever seen an advertisement saying something like
BUY OUR NEW SUPER MEGABLASTER COMPUTER!YOU NEVER ...