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A Primer on Pseudorandom Generators
Oded Goldreich, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

University Lecture Series
2010; 114 pp; softcover
Volume: 55
ISBN-10: 0-8218-5192-6
ISBN-13: 978-0-8218-5192-0
List Price: US$36
Member Price: US$28.80
Order Code: ULECT/55
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See also:

Computational Complexity Theory - Steven Rudich and Avi Wigderson

A fresh look at the question of randomness was taken in the theory of computing: A distribution is pseudorandom if it cannot be distinguished from the uniform distribution by any efficient procedure. This paradigm, originally associating efficient procedures with polynomial-time algorithms, has been applied with respect to a variety of natural classes of distinguishing procedures. The resulting theory of pseudorandomness is relevant to science at large and is closely related to central areas of computer science, such as algorithmic design, complexity theory, and cryptography.

This primer surveys the theory of pseudorandomness, starting with the general paradigm, and discussing various incarnations while emphasizing the case of general-purpose pseudorandom generators (withstanding any polynomial-time distinguisher). Additional topics include the "derandomization" of arbitrary probabilistic polynomial-time algorithms, pseudorandom generators withstanding space-bounded distinguishers, and several natural notions of special-purpose pseudorandom generators.

The primer assumes basic familiarity with the notion of efficient algorithms and with elementary probability theory, but provides a basic introduction to all notions that are actually used. As a result, the primer is essentially self-contained, although the interested reader is at times referred to other sources for more detail.


Advanced undergraduates and computer science majors, graduate students, and research mathematicians interested in complexity theory; cryptography; and pseudorandom generators.


"This book provides basic information about pseudorandom generators, one of the topics with the strongest impact in recent years, not only because of the subject itself but also because of its many applications in all fields of science."

-- Luis Hernandez Encinas, Mathematical Reviews

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