Talk:How bitcoin works
"For those who want to get into mining without much difficulty, click Here for a free 10 step guide on iscyspace." Cruiser moves 16:29, 20 October 2011 (GMT)
predict a cryptographic hash function
"Both the chaining, and the difficulty, are achieved via the SHA256 cryptographic hash function. The hash function essentially takes a block of data, and transforms it, in an effectively-impossible to reverse or to predict way, into a large integer. Making the slightest change to a block of data changes its hash unpredictably"
IMO the words "predict", "unpredictably" is misleading. The SHA256 cryptographic hash function is deterministic, so its result can be predicted by... the same function. :)
The key property is that the reverse function is costly, that's all.