Prawar Poudel

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering (MSE)


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Committee Chair

Aleksandar Milenkovic

Committee Member

Jeffrey Kulick

Committee Member

Biswajit Ray


Flash memories (Computers), Random number generators.


This thesis introduces a new technique for generating true random numbers that exploits read noise of perturbed cells in NOR Flash memories. The existing techniques for generating true random numbers rely on additional hardware resources that serve as a source of entropy or exploit memory components such as SRAM or NAND Flash memories. The proposed technique utilizes NOR Flash memories that are readily available in modern microcontrollers. We characterize behavior of the NOR Flash memories, introduce an algorithm for inducing a perturbed state of Flash memory cells, and introduce an algorithm for extracting randomness from these cells and generating true random numbers. The proposed technique is demonstrated and experimentally evaluated on a TI MSP430 family of microcontrollers. The experimental evaluation shows that the proposed technique enables highthroughput and low-cost extraction of random sequences that pass tests from the NIST statistical suite. The proposed technique requires no hardware modifications, is entirely implemented in software, and can be tailored to work in low-end and lowcost embedded systems.



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