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Quantum and classical noise for random number generation

  1. Dec 12, 2011 #1
    The gold standard for generating random numbers is the quantum effect of nuclear decay -- particles and photons being emitted from the atomic nucleus -- and unless you are one of those Hidden Variables types this is really random. The silver standard is thermal noise. There is a nice article in the last IEEE Spectrum magazine about Intel's on chip random number generators which use thermal noise: http://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/hardware/behind-intels-new-randomnumber-generator/0

    While reading that article it occurred to me that kinetic thermal noise might ultimately have quantum noise as it's source. Since heat is fundamentally energy released -- hmm, as photons? -- by chemical bonds forming or breaking, and chemical bonding is best described with Quantum Mechanics.

    I realize that thermal noise is easier to model with classical kinetics, but are these two sources of unpredictability fundamentally the same?
  2. jcsd
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