Random numbers – a vital part of encryption – are hard for computers to generate, but a new trick turns memory chips into a source of random noise

Technology



11 January 2022

By Matthew Sparkes

SK Hynix HY5DU281622ET CMOS DDR DRAM chip on circuit board

A DRAM memory chip on a circuit board

B Christopher/Alamy

Computers struggle to create randomness, but a new approach may finally enable them to generate a truly random number.

Such numbers are a vital ingredient for cryptographic algorithms and scientific simulations, but computers, which are built for churning through tasks with guaranteed repeatability, can’t be easily made unpredictable. The apparent randomness that they can create, known as pseudorandomness, is enough for some applications, but telltale patterns within the output makes this inadequate in some cases.

True Random Number Generators produce numbers by sampling …

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