With the recent discussion here of randomness/entropy, it’s timely that a story emerges of a guy“there’s an avalanche diode, which generates entropy from the quantum noise of its own operation. â€œThat’s not some scary quantum effect that’s hard to understandâ€, Campbell said, â€œbut it’s a a particularly random type of noiseâ€.
Second, there’s a radio receiver, which Campbell explained to Vulture South picks up noise, of which OneRNG retains the least significant bit, so as â€œto guard against a third party generating a signalâ€ to try and defeat the randomness of the entropy.” planning to ship an open-design random number generator.
The hardware is familiar to me. I’ve been doing electronics since the 1960s. He’s using a Zener diode as a noise-source and a radio receiver to pick it up. I think that’s kind of silly because it might open up the process to non-random radio sources. I know about those. I used to work in a cyclotron laboratory where every cable had 28MHz RF dancing on it. I would just pick up the noise directly with a wide-band amplifier and sample it periodically and digitize the stream with an ADC or even a Schmitt trigger. Compare with the average value of the signal and the odds are equal for ones and zeroes.
Whatever. The real issue is the bandwidth of the device and the quality of the data. Any decent computer system may need tons of random bits to do the job. I guess it will work fine for salting more productive methods like multiplicative congruence and descendents (I’ve used RANDU, one of the worst, on a S/360…) but it would not be the best for XORing with data-streams. With the necessity of random number generation in IT these days, it’s a wonder that every CPU or motherboard does not have a really great generator built in.