Feeds

ANU puts quantum random numbers online

Your quantum device on a USB key

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Last year, Oxford university demonstrated the use of quantum fluctuations to generate random numbers. Now, the Australian National University has gone a step further – putting its quantum-generated random numbers online.

“Vacuum noise” is one of those “couldn’t possibly be true, except that it is” characteristics of quantum mechanics. Knowing for certain you have an absolute vacuum with nothing inside it violates various refinements of Heisenberg’s uncertainly principle; the universe protects uncertainty by giving rise to virtual particle-antiparticle pairs that mutually annihilate.

And for researchers also know, this can be a pain in the neck for researchers working at quantum scales – so that it creates measurable interference in devices like gravity wave detectors.

It is, however, very useful for applications like cryptography.Since the vacuum fluctuations are completely random, this area of physics is keenly researched to develop better random number generators, with a number of different approaches trying to exploit the strangeness of the quantum universe.

Team member Dr Thomas Symul explains: “Vacuum noise is one of the ultimate sources of randomness because it is intrinsically broadband and its unpredictability is guaranteed by quantum theory. Because of this, we are able to generate billions of random numbers every second.”

The ANU table-top random number generator looks for the impact vacuum fluctuations have on light beams. A laser source is split, and the power in each beam is measured.

"Because light is quantised, the light intensity in each beam fluctuates about the mean", the university explains. The ultimate source of that noise is quantum fluctuations - the brief, evanescent lives of virtual particles.

And the ANU is putting its random numbers where its mouth is, at this site. Users can stream random numbers in hex, binary, or encoded as RGB colours.

Anybody downloading random numbers from the site, the ANU says, will receive a unique sequence different from all other users.

The university is now working with an Australian company, QuintessenceLabs, to commercialize and miniaturize its research to give users a thumb-drive-sized quantum random number generator of their own.

ANU's work is published in Applied Physics Letters, abstract here. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
China hacked US Army transport orgs TWENTY TIMES in ONE YEAR
FBI et al knew of nine hacks - but didn't tell TRANSCOM
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.