Lavarand was Silicon Graphics
Silicon Graphics
Silicon Graphics, Inc. was a manufacturer of high-performance computing solutions, including computer hardware and software, founded in 1981 by Jim Clark...

' name for its hardware random number generator
Hardware random number generator
In computing, a hardware random number generator is an apparatus that generates random numbers from a physical process. Such devices are often based on microscopic phenomena that generate a low-level, statistically random "noise" signal, such as thermal noise or the photoelectric effect or other...

 that worked by taking pictures of the patterns made by the floating material in lava lamp
Lava lamp
A lava lamp is a decorative novelty item that contains blobs of colored wax inside a glass vessel filled with clear liquid; the wax rises and falls as its density changes due to heating from a incandescent light bulb underneath the vessel. The appearance of the wax is suggestive of pāhoehoe lava,...

s, extracting random data from the pictures, and using the result to seed a pseudo-random number generator. Although the secondary part of the random number generation uses a pseudo-random number generator, the full process essentially qualifies as a "true" random number generator due to the random seed that is used.

It is covered under , titled "Method for seeding a pseudo-random number generator with a cryptographic hash of a digitization of a chaotic system."

From 1997 through 2001,
there was a web site at demonstrating the technique. Landon Curt Noll
Landon Curt Noll
Landon Curt Noll is an American computer scientist, co-discoverer of the 25th Mersenne prime and discoverer of the 26th, which he found while still enrolled in high school and concurrently at Cal State Hayward....

, one of the originators, went on to help develop LavaRnd, which does not use lava lamps. Despite the short life of, it is often cited as an example of an online random number source.

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