[Cryptography] real random numbers
bill.stewart at pobox.com
Sat Sep 14 18:46:42 EDT 2013
At 10:04 AM 9/12/2013, John Denker wrote:
>Quantum noise is the low-temperature asymptote, and thermal noise is
>the high-temperature asymptote of the /same/ physical process.
>So ... could we please stop talking about "radioactive" random number
>generators and "quantum" random number generators? It's embarrassing.
No. You're misunderstanding what people mean by "radioactive" RNGs.
(Quantum, fine; I don't use the term when talking about RNGs, because
I don't know what it means in that context, and I took enough quantum physics
in college many decades ago to know that most people who use the term
use it to mean "handwavy stuff I don't understand", so I won't argue with
you about whether it's different from thermal noise.)
Radioactive RNGs consist of a radiation source with a large number of
unstable nuclei and a particle detector that detects their decay events.
The events occur at some average rate, based on the decay rate per nucleus
and the number of nuclei, but the timing for "when the next atom
feels like decaying" is entirely unpredictable, so you get a Poisson process.
More information about the cryptography