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Hardware Random Number Generator

Wikipedia Reference Information

In computing, a hardware random number generator is an apparatus that generates random numbers from a physical process. Such devices are often based on microscopic phenomena such as thermal noise or the photoelectric effect or other quantum phenomena. These processes are, in theory, completely unpredictable, and the theory's assertions of unpredictability are subject to experimental test. A quantum-based hardware random number generator typically contains an amplifier to bring the output of the physical process into the macroscopic realm, and a transducer to convert the output into a digital signal.

Random number generators can also be built from macroscopic phenomena, such as playing cards, dice, and the roulette wheel. The presence of unpredictability in these phenomena can be justified by the theory of unstable dynamical systems and chaos theory. These theories suggest that even though macroscopic phenomena are deterministic in theory under Newtonian mechanics, real-world systems evolve in ways that cannot be predicted in practice because one would need to know the micro-details of initial conditions and subsequent manipulation or change.

Although dice have been mostly used in gambling, and in recent times as 'randomizing' elements in games (e.g. role playing games), the Victorian scientist Francis Galton described a way to use dice to explicitly generate random numbers for scientific purposes, in 1890. Though some gamblers believe they can control their throws of dice enough to win at dice games (a claim which has been long debated), no one has produced a way to exploit the claimed effect in either generating or attacking physical randomness sources.

Hardware random number generators are often relatively slow, and they may produce a biased sequence (i.e., some values are more common than others). Whether a hardware random number generator is suitable for a particular application depends on the details of both the application and the generator.

The complete, up-to-date and editable article about Hardware Random Number Generator can be found at Wikipedia: Hardware Random Number Generator
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardware_random_number_generator




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