## Bug #3128

### Randomness specs

**Description**

=begin

What should be the Ruby specs for the new Random class (and existing Kernel.{s}rand)?

More precisely: what should one expect of any Ruby implementation?

Several degrees of similarity with MRI are possible:

Say r = Random.new(42) and N is an Integer

0) r.rand(N) is included in 0...N

1) r.rand(N) will eventually return all values in 0...N

2) r.rand(N) will return any particular value in 0...N with a probability of around 1/N

3) r is a Mersenne Twister

4) r is MT19937

5) r.rand(N) generates the same particular string on all platforms

Implementers are ultimately free to choose whichever implementation they prefer, of course.

Still, it would be preferable to state what is the expect behavior for the Ruby language, not just for MRI. If MRI's guarantees are stronger, these should be stated as such.

Current state of affairs:

The documentation for Random class states that it is a Mersenne Twister pseudo number generator (but doesn't state which), so this corresponds to level (3) above.

Kernel.rand states that *currently*, r is a modified MT19937.

The Ruby Standardization WG Draft doesn't document Kernel.rand yet (nor Random, of course).

Rubinius' implementation currently guarantees level 0 (and also level 1 if N is not too big)

JRuby's implementation guarantees level 1 (and also level 2 if N is not too big)

Python and Java both guarantee the same particular sequence; other algorithms might be available as subclasses of their Random class.

My personal choice would be in line with Java and Python: insure the exact same sequence for the Random class. Implementations are free to provide subclasses of Random for different/better/faster algorithms.

If deemed preferable, Kernel.rand could have much lower required standards to allow for better speed, in which case level (2) above seems like the strict minimum.

=end

### History

#### Updated by nobu (Nobuyoshi Nakada) over 9 years ago

=begin

Hi,

At Sun, 11 Apr 2010 15:34:07 +0900,

Marc-Andre Lafortune wrote in [ruby-core:29447]:

Say r = Random.new(42) and N is an Integer

0) r.rand(N) is included in 0...N

1) r.rand(N) will eventually return all values in 0...N

2) r.rand(N) will return any particular value in 0...N with a probability of around 1/N

3) r is a Mersenne Twister

4) r is MT19937

5) r.rand(N) generates the same particular string on all platforms

I think the specs are only 0 and 5, and I'd categorize them as:

A) specs/restrictions:

1) r.rand(N) SHOULD NOT return a value which is NOT included

in 0...N

2) Random class instances which are created with same initial

seed values SHOULD generate same values in each calls, on

all platforms

B) degrees of randomness:

1) r.rand(N) will eventually return all values in 0...N

2) r.rand(N) will return any particular value in 0...N with a

probability of around 1/N

3) other random tests

C) implementation details:

1) r is a modified MT19937 (in the current MRI)

2) implementers are ultimately free to choose whichever

implementation they prefer

--

Nobu Nakada

=end

#### Updated by mame (Yusuke Endoh) over 9 years ago

=begin

Hi,

2010/4/11 Marc-Andre Lafortune redmine@ruby-lang.org:

1) r.rand(N) will eventually return all values in 0...N

I could be paranoid, but I doubt whether it can be guaranteed

currently. This is because there is Bignum in Ruby.

Pseudorandom numbers generator (even Mersenne Twister) creates

long, but finite cycle of sequence of numbers. IOW, eventually

the sequence repeats.

So, when N is bigger than the period (cycle length), there is

a number (in 0..N) that cannot be returned from r.rand(N).

It is Pigeonhole principle.

If there is a PRNG whose period can be configurable, it can be

solved. But as far as I know, the period of MT19937 is fixed

amount of 2**19937-1.

Of course, it is not problematic in practice. But I guess it

should not be declared as the spec.

Just my two cents,

--

Yusuke Endoh mame@tsg.ne.jp

=end

#### Updated by nahi (Hiroshi Nakamura) about 8 years ago

**Status**changed from*Open*to*Assigned***Assignee**set to*nahi (Hiroshi Nakamura)***Target version**changed from*1.9.2*to*1.9.3*

#### Updated by nahi (Hiroshi Nakamura) about 8 years ago

**Status**changed from*Assigned*to*Open***Assignee**deleted ()*nahi (Hiroshi Nakamura)***Target version**deleted ()*1.9.3*

It's a Ruby language specification issue, so I clear 'Target version'.

#### Updated by mame (Yusuke Endoh) over 7 years ago

**Status**changed from*Open*to*Assigned***Assignee**set to*marcandre (Marc-Andre Lafortune)*

Marc-Andre, do you need discussion about this?

--

Yusuke Endoh mame@tsg.ne.jp

#### Updated by marcandre (Marc-Andre Lafortune) about 7 years ago

**Assignee**changed from*marcandre (Marc-Andre Lafortune)*to*matz (Yukihiro Matsumoto)***Priority**changed from*Normal*to*3*

Hi,

mame (Yusuke Endoh) wrote:

Marc-Andre, do you need discussion about this?

After your remarks and those of Nobu, the question becomes:

Should `Randomg.new(42); rand`

return the same value in all Ruby implementations, or is the result implementation defined?

I'm assigning this to Matz.

#### Updated by marcandre (Marc-Andre Lafortune) over 1 year ago

**Status**changed from*Assigned*to*Closed*