Dedicated random number generators

  1. DrDu

    DrDu 4,460
    Science Advisor

    I was looking out for dedicated true random number generators and was surprised that there seem to be only very few around on the market. Anyone has experience here?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. There is a site www.random.org and the site describes the method to get the numbers by using interference patterns on antennae (electromagnetic signals) to get the data which is obtained by downloading the various data types (text, binary, etc).

    I would suggest that you download some of the documents on that site or if you are really keen, do a similar kind of thing and build a device that captures some sort of physical phenomena and use the random-ness apparant at small scales to capture 1's and 0's and save them to a data file.
     
  4. DevilsAvocado

    DevilsAvocado 1,665
    Gold Member

  5. DrDu

    DrDu 4,460
    Science Advisor

    I had expected there to be a chip worth some cents which uses some noise source to generate random numbers. I wonder why they are so scarce and expensive?
     
  6. DevilsAvocado

    DevilsAvocado 1,665
    Gold Member

    Development in progress, if you have Intel 3rd Generation Core Processor and Ivy Bridge you will have access to a new on-chip random number generator codenamed Bull Mountain that uses an on-processor entropy source (let’s hope it’s not Bull! :smile:).
     
  7. DevilsAvocado

    DevilsAvocado 1,665
    Gold Member

  8. Hardware random number generator

    http://www.araneus.fi/products-alea-eng.html

    I've always wanted to see someone make a cheap easy hardware random number generator project from the decay in a smoke detector, without compromising the detector to the point where people run away scared.
     
  9. DrDu

    DrDu 4,460
    Science Advisor

    159 Euros for a noise amplifier!
     
  10. AlephZero

    AlephZero 7,298
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    You can make a cheap and cheerful analog white noise generator much cheaper than that. All you need is a reverse biased semiconductor junction operating like a Zener diode, plus an amplifier. E.g. http://www.eeweb.com/blog/extreme_circuits/simple-white-noise-generator

    But if you want "true randomness", the hard part is making the circuit immune from any external influences - e.g. periodic fluctuations on the power supply rails etc. That's what costs real money.

    Apart from cryptographic security they are non necessarily very useful either. For software simulations, not being able to repeat a run exactly (for debugging, code performance optimization, verifying porting to different computer hardware, etc) can be a big DISadvantage!
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2013
  11. Plus the analog to digital conversion circuitry to convert to a digital stream.

    You could just save the digital stream to a file and replay it if you need that.

    And on that 159 Euro price, if the device was like a cell phone which costs far more to manufacture, but has 6 billion customers willing to pay $40 or $80/month forever to be allowed to use it, then I imagine they would be paying you to to take their random number generator hardware in exchange for your putting your name on the two year service contract.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2013
  12. DrDu

    DrDu 4,460
    Science Advisor

    I don't doubt that it is not entirely trivial. But the electronics in even the smallest microcontrollers isn't either, yet they cost at best a handfull of euros.
    The question is probably why there is so small a market for this kind of technology.
     
  13. DevilsAvocado

    DevilsAvocado 1,665
    Gold Member

    That’s obvious, isn’t it? X billion people who love to fiddle around with their xPad + FB vs. the very few who know anything about true randomness (and QM) = tiny market = low sale = higher charge.

    What exactly do you want to do? And why is free random.org not good enough?

    http://www.random.org/integers/
     
  14. If you're actually interested in true random numbers I suggest you check out the quantum random number generators (e.g. http://www.idquantique.com/random-number-generators/products.html ), which are based on letting single photons pass through beamsplitters. I'm not sure about the price, but they are dedicated, with both PCI and USB versions, and are obviously one of the few real true RNG's.
     
  15. http://www.idquantique.com/random-number-generators/ordering/online-shop.html

    1305 Euros, 990 Euros, 1135 Euros and 2230 Euros, depending on which model! That is expensive even for my tastes.

    I'm still hoping for a hobby project modified smoke detector (without compromising the package to keep from freaking people out about safety sillyness) true random number generator that would cost about 20 U.S. All that is needed is to detect each spike in current from the alpha particle decay.
     
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