Technology

Lamps and Random Numbers

💡Why are lava lamps used by a cloud company to generate #randomnumbers?

Random numbers are the foundation for the encryption and security of the Internet. As software becomes smarter and ever more data is available, the (random) numbers generated can be calculated, of course with high difficulty and expense. This will be of no real concern for everyday usage for common people but certainly can keep CTOs at big tech and security services awake at night.

To solve this, security engineers are turning to novel solutions from nature and the physical world. One such ‘creative’ solution being used by #Cloudflare (a CDN company which can be thought of as a large cloud hosting provider) is to install an array of Lava Lamps, use a camera to photograph them and convert the pictures to numbers, then derive a seed from them which will be used to generate the random numbers. This approach makes it virtually impossible to predict the number that will get generated.

Their London office uses photos of a double-pendulum in motion, and their Singapore office uses the radioactive decay of a pallet of uranium. Many other cloud providers like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon are even experimenting with #QuantumComputing for generating #cryptographic seed.

🤔Lava Lamps are decorative lamps, which have a coloured wax mixture in a glass vessel filled with clear liquid and placed on a base containing an incandescent light bulb whose heat causes temporary reductions in the wax’s density.

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