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ERNIE 5 goes Quantum

NS&I’s Premium Bonds take a quantum leap by choosing ID Quantique’s QRNG for its fifth generation ERNIE machine.

Since Premium Bonds were launched in the UK in 1956, a very special machine called ERNIE (Electronics Random Number Indicating Equipment) has won the affections of the British public, one representing the hopes and dreams of 21 million people across the country. ERNIE, the Premium Bonds Electronics Random Number Generator, is responsible for drawing over three million prizes each month, worth more than £90 million.

There have been four generations of machines since its creation. If ERNIE 1 was still in use today, it would take over 100 days to complete a draw. After 16 years of loyal service, ERNIE 4 is to be decommissioned and replaced with a faster machine to cope with the increasing volume of numbers that have to be produced every month, while ensuring the best randomness and security.

To achieve this goal, IDQ has developed the 5th generation ERNIE prize draw system (“ERNIE”). IDQ’s technology has allowed ERNIE to produce enough random numbers in just 12 minutes, far superior to the 9 hours that ERNIE 4 took towards the end of its random number generating-career.

Ian Ackerley, NS&I Chief Executive, said:

“Premium Bonds are as popular as ever before and ERNIE has been an integral part of that journey, changing the lives of millions of our customers since 1957.

“But ERNIE and Premium Bonds are also moving with the times; ERNIE, using quantum technology, will now be able to generate the millions of numbers required at a much faster pace, continuing to give customers a chance to have some fun while having a secure place for their savings.

“Meanwhile customers can use digital channels to check and manage Premium Bonds – from asking Alexa to check prizes to getting prizes paid directly into their bank account – saving and winning is easier, faster, and more accessible than ever before”

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About NS&I

NS&I is one of the largest savings organisations in the UK, offering a range of savings and investments to 25 million customers. All products offer 100% capital security, because NS&I is backed by HM Treasury.

To learn more about NS&I, visit www.nsandi.com.


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