random

Eugene Leitl Eugene.Leitl at lrz.uni-muenchen.de
Wed May 30 11:31:37 CEST 2001


On Wed, 30 May 2001, Tim Peters wrote:

> If you want truly random bits, they're available for the asking; for
> example, at
>
>     http://www.fourmilab.ch/hotbits/

Tim is being unnecessarily cruel to a person who asked a perfectly valid
question. Of course a deterministic process can't produce true random
sequences, but only pseudorandom sequences, which must pass a number of
statistical randomness tests to be called "random". The more tests the
generator passes, the more random it is.

IN cryptography, where's there is a demand to inject entropy from a
physical source (/dev/dsp, /dev/video, head timing of a harddrive,
keystrokes, mouse movement, hardware random number generators, and
similiar which are pooled in /dev/random) it is compressed, cryptohashed,
and added to the state of the random number generator to make guessing the
internal state harder.

I don't see the reason why a cryptohash such as md5 initialized with some
appropriate number and kept feed its own output would not do nicely for
purposes in question.





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