Laser Random Number Generation, 100 Times Faster Than Current Method, May Open New Stage in Cryptography
When a laser hits and is reflected, the result is a complete disaster. We go from a fine ray to an almost random set of beams. Now, this chaotic light output has been used by a group of scientists from the universities of Singapore, Yale and Trinity College Dublin to generate up to 250 terabytes of random numbers per second, more than 100 times of what can be generated in current computer-based methods.
Random Number Generation (RNG) is a key element in the world of cybersecurity. In cryptographic systems, these random numbers make it possible to generate tokens with a high level of entropy and therefore more difficult to decipher. With the new system published in the journal Science, paves the way to faster, cheaper and more secure data encryption.
A giant step in random number generation
“Today’s computer-powered random number generators are cheap and effective. However, they are vulnerable to attack, as hackers could predict future sequences of numbers if they discover the algorithm used to generate the numbers. Our system is more secure as it uses an unpredictable method to generate numbers, making it impossible for even those with the same device to replicate it “, Explain Wang Qijie, professor at the NTU School of Electronics and the Institute of Photonics.
The system uses a laser in conjunction with a special hourglass shaped cavity. The random numbers generated are based on the reflections from this cavity. The researchers found that, like snowflakes, no two generated number sequences were the same, due to the unpredictable nature of light reflecting through the cavity.
The system’s laser is one millimeter long, smaller than most lasers. With this they come to tell us that it is an energy efficient system and that runs on a single amp, so an expensive power source is not required.
When the laser is illuminated on a surface, its light contains an ever-changing pattern that randomly brightens and dims due to overlap. Through a computer it is possible translate this glow to create a random series of ones and zeros.
According to research published in late February, researchers have been able to obtain up to 254 billion digits per second Or, rather, 254 points for every billionth of a second. So much so, that in just a couple of nanoseconds the memory was full.
In just 12 seconds, the system could generate a set of random numbers equivalent to the size of the information in the world’s largest library, that of the United States Congress.
To work in the real world, this laser random number generator it would need to be equipped with light detectors that can send the data in real time, in order to manage the huge transfer of information obtained.
This work may open a new era in cryptography. Random numbers are used for all kinds of purposes, such as generating data encryption keys and one-time passwords. With your 53-qubit quantum computer, Google showed the power of its project using a random number generator. Now scientists have found another way to obtain them on a large scale.
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