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RAND48(3) OpenBSD Programmer's Manual RAND48(3)
drand48, erand48, lrand48, nrand48, mrand48, jrand48, srand48, seed48,
lcong48 - pseudo random number generators and initialization routines
erand48(unsigned short xseed);
nrand48(unsigned short xseed);
jrand48(unsigned short xseed);
unsigned short *
seed48(unsigned short xseed);
lcong48(unsigned short p);
The rand48() family of functions generates pseudo-random numbers using a
linear congruential algorithm working on integers 48 bits in size. The
particular formula employed is r(n+1) = (a * r(n) + c) mod m where the
default values are for the multiplicand a = 0xfdeece66d = 25214903917 and
the addend c = 0xb = 11. The modulus is always fixed at m = 2 ** 48.
r(n) is called the seed of the random number generator.
For all the six generator routines described next, the first computation-
al step is to perform a single iteration of the algorithm.
drand48() and erand48() return values of type double. The full 48 bits of
r(n+1) are loaded into the mantissa of the returned value, with the expo-
nent set such that the values produced lie in the interval [0.0, 1.0).
lrand48() and nrand48() return values of type long in the range [0,
2**31-1]. The high-order (31) bits of r(n+1) are loaded into the lower
bits of the returned value, with the topmost (sign) bit set to zero.
mrand48() and jrand48() return values of type long in the range [-2**31,
2**31-1]. The high-order (32) bits of r(n+1) are loaded into the returned
drand48(), lrand48(), and mrand48() use an internal buffer to store r(n).
For these functions the initial value of r(0) = 0x1234abcd330e =
On the other hand, erand48(), nrand48(), and jrand48() use a user-sup-
plied buffer to store the seed r(n), which consists of an array of 3
shorts, where the zeroth member holds the least significant bits.
All functions share the same multiplicand and addend.
srand48() is used to initialize the internal buffer r(n) of drand48(),
lrand48(), and mrand48() such that the 32 bits of the seed value are
copied into the upper 32 bits of r(n), with the lower 16 bits of r(n) ar-
bitrarily being set to 0x330e. Additionally, the constant multiplicand
and addend of the algorithm are reset to the default values given above.
seed48() also initializes the internal buffer r(n) of drand48(),
lrand48(), and mrand48(), but here all 48 bits of the seed can be speci-
fied in an array of 3 shorts, where the zeroth member specifies the low-
est bits. Again, the constant multiplicand and addend of the algorithm
are reset to the default values given above. seed48() returns a pointer
to an array of 3 shorts which contains the old seed. This array is stat-
ically allocated, so its contents are lost after each new call to
Finally, lcong48() allows full control over the multiplicand and addend
used in drand48(), erand48(), lrand48(), nrand48(), mrand48(), and
jrand48(), and the seed used in drand48(), lrand48(), and mrand48(). An
array of 7 shorts is passed as parameter; the first three shorts are used
to initialize the seed; the second three are used to initialize the mul-
tiplicand; and the last short is used to initialize the addend. It is
thus not possible to use values greater than 0xffff as the addend.
Note that all three methods of seeding the random number generator always
also set the multiplicand and addend for any of the six generator calls.
For a more powerful random number generator, see random(3)
arc4random(3), rand(3), random(3)
OpenBSD 2.6 October 8, 1993 2
Source: OpenBSD 2.6 man pages. Copyright: Portions are copyrighted by BERKELEY
SOFTWARE DESIGN, INC., The Regents of the University of California, Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, Free Software Foundation, FreeBSD Inc., and others.
(Corrections, notes, and links courtesy of RocketAware.com)
FreeBSD Sources for rand48(3) functions
OpenBSD sources for rand48(3)
Up to: Random Numbers
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