Microsystem Technologies

, Volume 11, Issue 8–10, pp 616–622 | Cite as

Disk drive generates high speed real random numbers

  • Erhard Schreck
  • Wolfgang Ertel
Technical paper


Real random numbers produced by a physical process are important for many applications in cryptography. This report presents a mechanism for collecting random numbers based on physical noise sources in a standard hard disk drive. We apply statistical tests to show that high quality random numbers can be produced at a speed of up to 835,200 bits/s. As this process can be implemented on any Maxtor disk drive in a standard PC, no additional hardware is needed to obtain these numbers. A US-patent is pending.


Noise Source Radial Position Disk Drive Output Sequence Pseudo Random Number Generator 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors are grateful to FH Ravensburg-Weingarten, University of Applied Sciences for granting a sabbatical and to Maxtor for the financial support and for providing a very efficient and motivating scientific environment. We owe special thanks to our Maxtor colleagues Robert Kimball, Bruce Schardt and Lloyd Levy.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Maxtor Corporation, Drive InstrumentationMilpitasUSA
  2. 2.FH Ravensburg-WeingartenUniversity of Applied SciencesWeingartenGermany

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