Sat, 21 Apr 2012

Wielding the ANU Quantum Random Number Generator

Last week Science Daily published an article that caught my attention titled 'Sounds of Silence' Proving a Hit: World's Fastest Random Number Generator. The tl;dr is that researchers at the ANU ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology created a blazing fast random number generator based on quantum fluctuations in a vacuum. Thankfully, these awesome scientists are giving their data away for free, and they even provide a JSON API.

In an effort to make it simple to leverage this data, I created a new project: quantumrandom. It provides a qrandom command-line tool, a Python API, and also a /dev/qrandom Linux character device.


$ virtualenv env
$ source env/bin/activate
$ pip install quantumrandom

Using the command-line tool

$ qrandom --int --min 5 --max 15
$ qrandom --binary
$ qrandom --hex

Creating /dev/qrandom

quantumrandom comes equipped with a multi-threaded character device in userspace. When read from, this device fires up a bunch of threads to fetch data. Not only can you utilize this as a rng, but you can also feed this data back into your system's entropy pool.

In order to build it's dependencies, you'll need the following packages installed: svn gcc-c++ fuse-devel gccxml libattr-devel. On Fedora 17 and newer, you'll also need the kernel-modules-extra package installed for the cuse module.

pip install ctypeslib hg+
sudo modprobe cuse
sudo chmod 666 /dev/cuse
qrandom-dev -v
sudo chmod 666 /dev/qrandom
By default it will use 3 threads, which can be changed by passing '-t #' into the qrandom-dev.

Testing the randomness for FIPS 140-2 compliance

$ cat /dev/qrandom | rngtest --blockcount=1000
rngtest: bits received from input: 20000032
rngtest: FIPS 140-2 successes: 1000
rngtest: FIPS 140-2 failures: 0
rngtest: FIPS 140-2(2001-10-10) Monobit: 0
rngtest: FIPS 140-2(2001-10-10) Poker: 0
rngtest: FIPS 140-2(2001-10-10) Runs: 0
rngtest: FIPS 140-2(2001-10-10) Long run: 0
rngtest: FIPS 140-2(2001-10-10) Continuous run: 0
rngtest: input channel speed: (min=17.696; avg=386.711; max=4882812.500)Kibits/s
rngtest: FIPS tests speed: (min=10.949; avg=94.538; max=161.640)Mibits/s
rngtest: Program run time: 50708319 microseconds

Adding entropy to the Linux random number generator

sudo rngd --rng-device=/dev/qrandom --random-device=/dev/random --timeout=5 --foreground

Monitoring your available entropy levels

watch -n 1 cat /proc/sys/kernel/random/entropy_avail

Python API

The quantumrandom Python module contains a low-level get_data function, which is modelled after the ANU Quantum Random Number Generator's JSON API. It returns variable-length lists of either uint16 or hex16 data.

>>> quantumrandom.get_data(data_type='uint16', array_length=5)
[42796, 32457, 9242, 11316, 21078]
>>> quantumrandom.get_data(data_type='hex16', array_length=5, block_size=2)
['f1d5', '0eb3', '1119', '7cfd', '64ce']

Based on this get_data function, quantumrandom also provides a bunch of higher-level helper functions that make easy to perform a variety of tasks.

>>> quantumrandom.randint(0, 20)
>>> quantumrandom.hex()[:10]
>>> quantumrandom.binary()[0]
>>> len(quantumrandom.binary())
>>> quantumrandom.uint16()
numpy.array([24094, 13944, 22109, 22908, 34878, 33797, 47221, 21485, 37930, ...], dtype=numpy.uint16)
>>> quantumrandom.uint16().data[:10]

Follow quantumrandom on GitHub:

posted at: 16:30 | link | Tags: , , , , | 5 comments

Posted by Kashyap Chamarthy at Sun Apr 22 05:04:45 2012

Excellent, Luke. When you post a SPEC file, I'd be glad to review :)

Posted by Benjamin at Tue Apr 24 22:21:16 2012

Just don't use this for anything security related as the random data is sent as plaintext over the 'net.

Posted by Luke at Wed Apr 25 02:07:08 2012

@Benjamin: Right, this is mentioned in the README on github. I spoke with the researchers at ANU and they are going to consider supporting SSL in a future version.

Posted by Luke at Fri May 4 04:01:11 2012

As of version 1.7, quantumrandom now uses SSL/TLS :)

Posted by levitra_generic at Wed Nov 21 08:05:34 2012

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