random, srandom, initstate, setstate -- better random number generator; routines for changing generators


cc . . . -lc
long random(void);

srandom(int seed);

char *initstate(unsigned seed, char *state, int n);

char *setstate(char *state);


random- better random number generator

srandom- seed the better random number generator

initstate- initialize a state array

setstate- switch between state arrays

random uses a non-linear additive feedback random number generator employing a default table of size 31 long integers to return successive pseudo-random numbers in the range from 0 to 2^31 -1. The period of this random number generator is very large, approximately 16× (2^31 -1).

random/srandom have (almost) the same calling sequence and initialization properties as rand/srand (see rand(S)). The difference is that rand(S) produces a much less random sequence - in fact, the low dozen bits generated by rand go through a cyclic pattern. All the bits generated by random are usable. For example, the following will produce a random binary value:

Unlike srand, srandom does not return the old seed because the amount of state information used is much more than a single word. Two other routines are provided to deal with restarting/changing random number generators. Like rand(S), however, random will, by default, produce a sequence of numbers that can be duplicated by calling srandom with ``1'' as the seed.

The initstate routine allows a state array, passed in as an argument, to be initialized for future use. n specifies the size of state in bytes. initstate uses n to decide how sophisticated a random number generator it should use--the more state, the better the random numbers will be. Current ``optimal'' values for the amount of state information are 8, 32, 64, 128, and 256 bytes; other amounts will be rounded down to the nearest known amount. Using less than 8 bytes will cause an error. The seed for the initialization (which specifies a starting point for the random number sequence, and provides for restarting at the same point) is also an argument. initstate returns a pointer to the previous state information array.

Once a state has been initialized, the setstate routine provides for rapid switching between states. setstate returns a pointer to the previous state array; its argument state array is used for further random number generation until the next call to initstate or setstate.

Once a state array has been initialized, it may be restarted at a different point either by calling initstate (with the desired seed, the state array, and its size) or by calling both setstate (with the state array) and srandom (with the desired seed). The advantage of calling both setstate and srandom is that the size of the state array does not have to be remembered after it is initialized.

With 256 bytes of state information, the period of the random number generator is greater than 2^69 which should be sufficient for most purposes.


/* Initialize an array and pass it in to initstate. */

static long state1[32] = { 3, 0x9a319039, 0x32d9c024, 0x9b663182, 0x5da1f342, 0x7449e56b, 0xbeb1dbb0, 0xab5c5918, 0x946554fd, 0x8c2e680f, 0xeb3d799f, 0xb11ee0b7, 0x2d436b86, 0xda672e2a, 0x1588ca88, 0xe369735d, 0x904f35f7, 0xd7158fd6, 0x6fa6f051, 0x616e6b96, 0xac94efdc, 0xde3b81e0, 0xdf0a6fb5, 0xf103bc02, 0x48f340fb, 0x36413f93, 0xc622c298, 0xf5a42ab8, 0x8a88d77b, 0xf5ad9d0e, 0x8999220b, 0x27fb47b9 };

main() { unsigned seed; int n;

seed = 1; n = 128; initstate(seed, state1, n);

setstate(state1); printf("%d\n",random()); }


linking library

See also

drand48(S), rand(S)

Standards conformance

random, srandom, initstate and setstate are conformant with:

X/Open Portability Guide Issue 4, Version 2 (Spec-1170).

© 2003 Caldera International, Inc. All rights reserved.
SCO OpenServer Release 5.0.7 -- 11 February 2003