very high speed hardware RNG

Jack Lloyd lloyd at
Sun Dec 28 23:49:06 EST 2008

On Sun, Dec 28, 2008 at 08:12:09PM -0500, Perry E. Metzger wrote:
> Semiconductor laser based RNG with rates in the gigabits per second.
> My take: neat, but not as important as simply including a decent
> hardware RNG (even a slow one) in all PC chipsets would be.

I've been thinking that much better than a chipset addition (which is
only accessible by the OS kernel in most environments) would be a
simple ring-3 (or equivalent) accessible instruction that writes 32 or
64 bits of randomness from a per-core hardware RNG, something like

; write 32 bits of entropy from the hardware RNG to eax register
rdrandom %eax

Which would allow user applications to access a good hardware RNG
directly, in addition to allowing the OS to read bits to seed the
system PRNG (/dev/random, CryptoGenRandom, or similar)

I think the JVM in particular could benefit from such an extension, as
the abstractions it puts into place otherwise prevent most of the
methods one might use to gather high-quality entropy for a PRNG seed.


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