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True Random Number Generator Goes Online

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  • Wow! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @06:34PM (#19907747)
    ..BZT, qvq nalbar frr gung gb ertvfgre lbh unir
    gb fbyir n zngu ceboyrz yvxr:

        qrevingvir bs (5*fva 3k +6pbf(-cv/2))

    Avpr!

    Urer vf n qverpg yvax gb gur trarengbe, lbh pna
    qbjaybnq gur pyvrag sebz urer nf jryy:

    uggc://enaqbz.veo.ue/

    DEnaq Pbzznaq-yvar Hgvyvgl [i0.2, 2007-07-17]
    Abgr 1: Pbzcvyrf haqre Ivfhny Fghqvb naq t++.
    Abgr 2: Jvaqbjf rkrphgnoyr vapyhqrq.
    Abgr 3: TAH Yvahk rkrphgnoyr vapyhqrq.
    • Re:Wow! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Xiph1980 (944189) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @06:47PM (#19907941)
      Too bad that's only ROT13:
      Not really the hardest of encryptions to crack.

      ..OMG, did anyone see that to register you have
      to solve a math problem like:

      derivative of (5*sin 3x +6cos(-pi/2))

      Nice!

      Here is a direct link to the generator, you can
      download the client from here as well:

      http://random.irb.hr/ [random.irb.hr]

      QRand Command-line Utility [v0.2, 2007-07-17]
      Note 1: Compiles under Visual Studio and g++.
      Note 2: Windows executable included.
      Note 3: GNU Linux executable included.

      • Re:Wow! (Score:4, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 19, 2007 @06:05AM (#19912099)

        Too bad that's only ROT13: Not really the hardest of encryptions to crack.

        Yeah, that's why I always apply it twice for extra security.

    • Re:Wow! (Score:5, Funny)

      by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @07:12PM (#19908181)
      ..OMG, did anyone see that to register you have to solve a math problem like:

      derivative of (5*sin 3x +6cos(-pi/2))


      7h15 15 345y. 6 * (05(-p1/2) = z3r0), 50 7h3 4n5w3r 15 ju57 15 * (05(3x).

      |\/|y m07h3r (0u|d h4v3 d1ff3r3n71473d 7h47.
  • by ferrellcat (691126) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @06:35PM (#19907763)
    Hey! It works!
  • Now I have a place to get my numbers for srand()!
  • Wait... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Icarus1919 (802533) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @06:35PM (#19907769)
    Why do I keep getting 42?
    • Re:Wait... (Score:5, Funny)

      by theantipop (803016) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @07:01PM (#19908083)
      I don't know, but that's pretty improbable.
    • Re:Wait... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Lord Ender (156273) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @07:41PM (#19908463) Homepage
      Actually, a random number generator isn't really random unless it is possible for it to generate the number 42 a thousand times in a row...
      • Re:Wait... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by AchiIIe (974900) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @10:15PM (#19909645)
        Bah, you must be a mathematician.
        If you put a monkey in front of a typewriter and he types on it for an infinite amount of time, he'll eventually type all of Shakespeare's work.

        It's called the Infinite monkey theorem [wikipedia.org]

        Ignoring punctuation, spacing, and capitalization, a monkey typing letters uniformly at random has one chance in 26 of correctly typing the first letter of Hamlet. It has one chance in 676 (26 times 26) of typing the first two letters. Because the probability shrinks exponentially, at 20 letters it already has only one chance in 26^20 = 19,928,148,895,209,409,152,340,197,376, roughly equivalent to the probability of buying 4 lottery tickets consecutively and winning the jackpot each time. In the case of the entire text of Hamlet, the probabilities are so vanishingly small they can barely be conceived in human terms. The text of Hamlet, even stripped of punctuation, contains well over 130,000 letters which would lead to a probability of one in 3.4×10^183946.

        For comparison purposes, there are only about 10^79 atoms in the observable universe and only 4.3 x 10^17 seconds have elapsed since the Big Bang. Even if the universe were filled with monkeys typing for all time, their total probability to produce a single instance of Hamlet would still be less than one chance in 10183800. As Kittel and Kroemer put it, "The probability of Hamlet is therefore zero in any operational sense of an event...", and the statement that the monkeys must eventually succeed "gives a misleading conclusion about very, very large numbers." This is from their textbook on thermodynamics, the field whose statistical foundations motivated the first known expositions of typing monkeys
        • Re:Wait... (Score:5, Funny)

          by snickkers (1023847) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @10:37PM (#19909799)
          The closest we'll get to proof that Shakespeare wasn't a monkey.
          • Re:Wait... (Score:4, Funny)

            by Nazlfrag (1035012) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @12:47AM (#19910677) Journal
            Silly statisticians miss the point. Why do all portrayals of the great bard have him bearded? Monkeys were often used as assistants and servants hundreds of years ago, why not use one as a scriptwriter? How else do you explain all the strange spelling and random line breaks? History proves Shakespeare was a monkey without a shadow of a doubt, regardless of silly mathematicians trying to compare the immortal poet, or any other monkey at a typewriter with random numbers. A chimpanzee shares 99.7% of our DNA, yet we call them random number generators? Pseudoscientific quackery at its worst.
        • by myowntrueself (607117) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @10:58PM (#19909943)
          As Kittel and Kroemer put it, "The probability of Hamlet is therefore zero in any operational sense of an event...", and the statement that the monkeys must eventually succeed "gives a misleading conclusion about very, very large numbers."

          So in other words there really is *no* hope that web 2.0 will actually produce anything truly outstanding?
        • Re:Wait... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Trogre (513942) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @11:17PM (#19910101) Homepage
          And yet, if those monkeys are truly typing randomly, any set of 130,000 characters they type has exactly the same chance of being Hamlet as it does anything else.

          Let's say my cat just traipsed on my keyboard and typed "dsafhhrnvcdbqwtrwqerwe897509k;ln b,.cnjhcvdsytwejbhd". Yesterday I might have asked you what were the chances of a cat randomly typing "dsafhhrnvcdbqwtrwqerwe897509k;ln b,.cnjhcvdsytwejbhd", and you might have replied "vanishingly small, so much so that it just isn't going to happen in your lifetime". And you'd be right from a statistical point of view. Yet it happened.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by suggsjc (726146)
          Ok, you spouted off some big numbers and people modded you insightful. However, I still have no clue as to how you actually came up with the stat "still be less than one chance in 10183800".

          Here are the questions that I need answered before I give your numbers any credibility.
          1. How many monkeys were actually typing?
          2. At what rate are they typing?
          3. Are we to assume that they are typing truly random sequences?
          4. Since you used the Big Bang, I'm only going to assume that you believe in evolution. So during thi
      • Re:Wait... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ajs (35943) <ajs@noSPam.ajs.com> on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @11:49PM (#19910339) Homepage Journal

        Actually, a random number generator isn't really random unless it is possible for it to generate the number 42 a thousand times in a row...
        Not so.

        A random number generator might generate numbers in the range 0x10000000 to 0xfffffff0 (and thus never generate 42 (0x0000002a) as a result). As long as the distribution within that range is uniform, non-periodic, and lacking in underlying structure, it's random. If it meets the first and last requirement, but is periodic, then it's pseudo-random.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by ydra2 (821713)
          > Actually, a random number generator isn't really random unless it is possible
          > for it to generate the number 42 a thousand times in a row...

          > Not so.

          > A random number generator might generate numbers in the range 0x10000000 to
          > 0xfffffff0 (and thus never generate 42 (0x0000002a) as a result). As long as
          > the distribution within that range is uniform, non-periodic, and lacking in
          > underlying structure, it's random. If it meets the first and last requirement
          > but is periodic, then it
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by E++99 (880734)

        Actually, a random number generator isn't really random unless it is possible for it to generate the number 42 a thousand times in a row...

        However, if you get a 1,001st 42, chances are it's just broken.
  • lava lamps at SGI (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @06:35PM (#19907777)
    when I think of random numbers, I can't help but remember the 'fishbowl' that had at SGI (mtn view) where an indycam was photo'ing some lavalamps and creating random seeds based on those images.

    ah, SGI....
  • random.org ? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @06:36PM (#19907785)
    Hasn't random.org [random.org] done this for a while already? Perhaps they don't have academic backing, but I do believe they use numbers generated by atomic decay.
  • I feel more random already.
  • for the day when we will have a QRBG in every computer.
  • Don't misunderstand (Score:5, Informative)

    by Icarus1919 (802533) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @06:38PM (#19907813)
    True random number [wikipedia.org] generators have been around in hardware form for a while based on a number of different processes, not quantum only. But this is being offered to the community at large, who may not have the means to procure or pay for a hardware solution.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Urusai (865560)
      Finally, something to make the OLPC useful.
    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @06:44PM (#19907911) Journal
      Don't Via C3 chips have a hardware random number generator, that uses quantum-level fluctuations in the chip (i.e. the kind of noise that most of the rest of the chip is specifically designed to try to avoid) to produce noise as output? Since these cost under $100, I can't see a researcher not being able to afford one. You obviously can't use this service for cryptography, since relying on someone else for your entropy is just asking for trouble.
    • I wonder if this be subject to Benford's Law? http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=210 [damninteresting.com] Namely that the most common first digit will be one, two will be the next most common first digit, then three and so on. Apparently this happens with random numbers pulled from real life.
      • by Abcd1234 (188840)
        Apparently this happens with random numbers pulled from real life.

        No, it doesn't. To quote the article you linked to:

        In a highly variable set of numbers such as those found in taxes, one would think that the leading digits would all be equally common. One would expect to find roughly the same amount of numbers starting with a 1 as, say, an 8. In a set of totally random numbers such as the lottery, that is exactly what one would discover; but when it comes to non-random real-life numbers, unless the data se

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by E++99 (880734)

          Given that this device is intended to produce "totally random numbers", I'd say it's output most certainly *won't* follow Benford's Law.


          In most cases it would, depending on the random distribution you're getting. Eg, in a random 8-bit number, you have 0-255. 111 of those start with 1, which is 43%; 67 start with 2, which is 26%; 11 each start with 3 through 9, which is 4% each.
    • by owlstead (636356)
      I'm posting this using a VIA C7 x86 compatible processor which has a nice whitened true random generator build in. It wasn't that costly. Most smart cards have RNG's build in, to give you an idea of the costs. Having a rng online is kind of defeating the purpose. I would like to see more processors include random number generators (and other cryptographic primitives). They do not rely on outside data (a keyboard or HDD will not be part of my flash based, headless server), provide good randoms at great speed
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nuzak (959558)
        > Having a rng online is kind of defeating the purpose.

        Tell that to online RPG dice rollers. A true and trustworthy online RNG service can also be non-repudiable, instead of having everyone needing to trust that you didn't rig the RNG algorithm on your side. An online Nomic I play uses the cents digit of the opening price of publicly traded stocks as a random digit (the sample is typically once a month, so it's chaotic enough). Random.org has a daily log of its numbers. I'd really love an online RNG
  • it works faster than /dev/random. I'm tired of having to perturb the mouse every time I make a damn ssh connection!
  • by Wise Dragon (71071) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @06:40PM (#19907851) Homepage
    This is neat but there have been other quantum random number generators online for years. This one by id Quantique springs to mind... [randomnumbers.info] I'm not sure what this new service provides that others don't. If you REALLY want secure random numbers you should buy a QRNG PCI card and make them yourself so you're the only one with a copy.
    • Actually, making random numbers good enough for encryption isn't all that difficult. For most applications you only need to generate a few thousand bits that are difficult for a third party to predict. The real problem with random numbers comes when you want a gigabyte [per second] of good random numbers for a scientific simulation, and the margin of error of your experiment needs to be a couple of orders of magnitudes bellow the output.

      Heck, if you really wanted to you could generate a relatively strong pr
  • Yawn... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by justasecond (789358)

    John Walker (AutoDesk founder) has had a true random number generator available for web access for quite a long time. Looks like his site's currently down, but check out www.fourmilab.ch [fourmilab.ch] when it's sorted -- in addition to the random number generator he has a number of other cool gadgets and info. available.

    Oh, and this line from the FA is priceless: "...is connected to the internet through advanced computer technologies such as computer clusters and GRID network." Don't get too technical on me...

    • To crank up the bit generation rate to something usable for a server accessible on the Internet, we need a radiation source more intense than background radiation. Rummaging around in the well-endowed Fourmilab junk box turned up a 60 microcurie Jordan Nuclear Krypton-85 (85Kr) source capsule, model BB-0005.
  • I mean, it's not the first RNG available on the Internet. There is, after all, HotBits and several other ones available. HotBits uses the simple decay of a radioactive element, while others rely on pure noise (I believe one uses a webcam trained at nothing and is just picking up noise).

    I believe there are even commercially available RNGs based on the same principles available at fairly low costs.

    Wasn't there also a project that tried to see if the scope of human consciousness could affect these random event
  • Erm.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by Creepy Crawler (680178) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @06:42PM (#19907875)
    Does anybody have a mirror?

    It keeps changing on me!
  • by i_like_spam (874080) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @06:42PM (#19907879) Journal
    Atmospheric noise [random.org]
    Lava lamps [lavarnd.org]
    Radioactive decay [fourmilab.ch]
    Entropy [hd.org]
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ArsonSmith (13997)
      I'm a source too, and the first 5 are free:

      45
      7
      183
      33
      23

      send me $100 for each addition random number.

      ok bonus day

      44
    • Apathy:
      Use 123, what does it matter anyway.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Kidbro (80868)
      More sources of true randomness:

      - Reasons for women to get upset
      - Promises from politicians
      - Patent applications
      - Marketing terminology

  • how random it truly is. That is, I wonder if it maybe favors 1's more than 0's. When dealing with the physical world, even on a quantum level, it is often hard to get a perfectly even probability split between two (or more) values.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by JesseL (107722)
      These things usually use a natural noise source as a random seed and then mathematically normalize them to produce random numbers that are useful. It's pretty standard stuff.
  • by solevita (967690) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @06:43PM (#19907895)
    Call me paranoid, but I think I'd rather use a local pseudo random number generator than an external true random generator. My security concerns associated with using a local pseudo random number generator are outweighed by my privacy concerns of contacting a third party every time I want to establish a SSH connection or use my credit card online.

    Great for research though, of course.
    • For scientific research, there's a very good reason to use pseudo-random numbers: reproducibility.

      If you're analyzing a stochastic model, you want to be able to generate lots of runs with different random sequences and gather statistics from the ensemble. But if you see interesting behavior in a particular run and want to take a closer look, you want to be able to go back and run it again, exactly as it happened the first time. In this case, you don't want real randomness, you want pseudo-randomness with

  • The link in the summary is a news report that links to the site itself. The site itself is http://random.irb.hr/ [random.irb.hr], is easily accessed directly, and requires a registration.
  • by zCyl (14362)
    Some article author doesn't know what he's talking about... I quote:

    "Ordinary random number generators found in most computers in use today are 'pseudo-random' numbers that use various algorithms to pick the numbers from large pre-compiled databases of numbers obtained by methods such as rolling the dice."

    In actuality, PRNGs typically operate based on a function with a very long periodicity, not a pre-compiled list of dice rolls. And what I consider to be a typical state-of-the-art contemporary random nu
  • by JurassicPizza (972175) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @06:47PM (#19907943)
    I've been waiting on this for a long time.
  • I patent it. All random numbers are mine, unless you pay me a random fee. And who is to say that all software which are 1s and 0s, are not really ripping me off by stealing my random numbers! How about mp3s - also just a bunch of numbers - there mine too! However you look at it - PAY ME! Thank you for your support.
  • by poszi (698272) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @06:51PM (#19907993)
    Look at the signup page [random.irb.hr]. You not only need to prove that you are a human but also that you have elementary knowledge of calculus.
  • Weird... (Score:3, Funny)

    by patternmatch (951637) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @06:57PM (#19908049)
    I keep getting 09f911029d74e35bd84156c5635688c0...
  • One step closer to the Infinite Improbability Drive!
  • Whopdee doo. You can do the same thing by tuning your FM radio to an unused spot.
    The hiss you get is the amplified QUANTUM NOISE of the first RF amplifier stage.

    If you need more bandwidth, tune your TV card to an unused channel. That'll give you about six megabits per second of really good noise.

     
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @10:29PM (#19909739)
    http://web.archive.org/web/20011027002011/http://d ilbert.com/comics/dilbert/archive/images/dilbert20 01182781025.gif [archive.org]

    [Tour of Accounting]
    Accounting Troll: "Over here we have our random number generator"

    Number Generator Troll: "Nine Nine Nine Nine Nine Nine"

    Dilbert: "Are you sure that's random?"

    Accounting Troll: "That's the problem with randomness: you can never be sure"
  • by Yetihehe (971185) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @05:40AM (#19912023)

    Compared to solid state photon detectors the PMT's have drastically superior signal to noise performance[...]
    Erm, funny, now the noise is not random enough?
  • by rk (6314) on Thursday July 19, 2007 @05:30PM (#19919743) Journal
    Because I got this:

    "Quantum Random Bit Generator Service: Sign up failed
    Congratulations! You have successfully registered for QRBG Service.

    Now, you can log in and check your quota and usage statistics, or just start using the Service."

    I guess I have to stuff a cat in a box to see if my account actually works now.

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