@MISC{Gershenfeld01physicalone-way, author = {Neil A. Gershenfeld and Stephen A. Benton}, title = {Physical One-Way Functions- Abstract}, year = {2001} }

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Abstract

Modern cryptography relies on algorithmic one-way functions- numerical functions which are easy to compute but very difficult to invert. This dissertation introduces physical one-way functions and physical one-way hash functions as primitives for physical analogs of cryptosystems. Physical one-way functions are defined with respect to a physical probe and physical system in some unknown state. A function is called a physical one-way function if (a) there exists a deterministic physical interaction between the probe and the system which produces an output in constant time (b) inverting the function using either computational or physical means is difficult (c) simulating the physical interaction is computationally demanding and (d) the physical system is easy to make but difficult to clone. Physical one-way hash functions produce fixed-length output regardless of the size of the input. These hash functions can be obtained by sampling the output of physical one-way functions. For the system described below, it is shown that there is a strong