Unformatted text preview: ichter developed a random-number generator based on thermal noise from a semiconductor diode . Supposedly the time intervals between successive 2e4 light emissions from a trapped mercury atom are random. Use that. Better yet, find a semiconductor company that makes random-number-generation chips; they are out there. There is also a random-number generator that uses the computer’s disk drive . It measures the time required to read a disk block and uses the variation in that time as a random number source. It filters the timing data to remove structure that comes from quantization, then applies a fast Fourier transform to vectors of the numbers. This removes bias and correlation. Finally, it uses the spectral angles for frequencies in (0, À), normalized to the unit interval, as the random bits. A large part of the variation in disk rotation speed is caused by air turbulence, so there is randomness in the system. There are caveats, though. If you keep too many bits of the output, you are using the fast Fourier transform as a random-number generator and risk predictability. And it’s best to read the same disk block over and over, so that your filtering doesn’t have to remove structure that comes from the disk-scheduler. An implementation of this system was able to collect about 100 bits per minute . Using the Computer’s Clock
If you want a single random bit (or even a few), take the least significant bit from any clock register. This might not be terribly random in a UNIX system because of various potential synchronizations, but it works on some personal computers. Beware of getting too many bits this way. Executing the same subroutine several times in succession could easily skew bits generated in this manner. For example, if each bit generation subroutine takes an even number of clock ticks to execute, you will get an endless stream of the same bit out of the generator. If each subroutine takes an odd number of clock ticks to execute, you will get...
View Full Document
- Fall '10
- Cryptography, Bruce Schneier, Applied Cryptography, EarthWeb, Search Search Tips