Random provides an interface to Ruby's pseudo-random number generator, or PRNG. The PRNG produces a deterministic sequence of bits which approximate true randomness. The sequence may be represented by integers, floats, or binary strings.

The generator may be initialized with either a system-generated or user-supplied seed value by using ::srand.

The class method #rand provides the base functionality of Kernel#rand along with better handling of floating point values. These are both interfaces to Random::DEFAULT, the Ruby system PRNG.

::new will create a new PRNG with a state independent of Random::DEFAULT, allowing multiple generators with different seed values or sequence positions to exist simultaneously. Random objects can be marshaled, allowing sequences to be saved and resumed.

PRNGs are currently implemented as a modified Mersenne Twister with a period of 2**19937-1.

Included Modules
Class Public methods
Random.new(seed = Random.new_seed) → prng

Creates a new PRNG using seed to set the initial state. If seed is omitted, the generator is initialized with ::new_seed.

See ::srand for more information on the use of seed values.

static VALUE
random_init(int argc, VALUE *argv, VALUE obj)
    VALUE vseed;
    rb_random_t *rnd = get_rnd(obj);

    if (rb_check_arity(argc, 0, 1) == 0) {
        vseed = random_seed();
    else {
        vseed = argv[0];
        rb_check_copyable(obj, vseed);
        vseed = rb_to_int(vseed);
    rnd->seed = rand_init(&rnd->mt, vseed);
    return obj;
Random.new_seed → integer

Returns an arbitrary seed value. This is used by ::new when no seed value is specified as an argument.

Random.new_seed  #=> 115032730400174366788466674494640623225
static VALUE
    VALUE v;
    uint32_t buf[DEFAULT_SEED_CNT+1];
    fill_random_seed(buf, DEFAULT_SEED_CNT);
    v = make_seed_value(buf, DEFAULT_SEED_CNT);
    explicit_bzero(buf, DEFAULT_SEED_LEN);
    return v;
Random.rand → float
Random.rand(max) → number

Alias of Random::DEFAULT.rand.

static VALUE
random_s_rand(int argc, VALUE *argv, VALUE obj)
    VALUE v = rand_random(argc, argv, Qnil, rand_start(&default_rand));
    check_random_number(v, argv);
    return v;
Random.raw_seed(size) → string

Returns a raw seed string, using platform providing features.

Random.raw_seed(8)  #=> "\x78\x41\xBA\xAF\x7D\xEA\xD8\xEA"
static VALUE
random_raw_seed(VALUE self, VALUE size)
    long n = NUM2ULONG(size);
    VALUE buf = rb_str_new(0, n);
    if (n == 0) return buf;
    if (fill_random_bytes(RSTRING_PTR(buf), n, FALSE)) return Qnil;
    return buf;
srand(number = Random.new_seed) → old_seed

Seeds the system pseudo-random number generator, Random::DEFAULT, with number. The previous seed value is returned.

If number is omitted, seeds the generator using a source of entropy provided by the operating system, if available (/dev/urandom on Unix systems or the RSA cryptographic provider on Windows), which is then combined with the time, the process id, and a sequence number.

srand may be used to ensure repeatable sequences of pseudo-random numbers between different runs of the program. By setting the seed to a known value, programs can be made deterministic during testing.

srand 1234               # => 268519324636777531569100071560086917274
[ rand, rand ]           # => [0.1915194503788923, 0.6221087710398319]
[ rand(10), rand(1000) ] # => [4, 664]
srand 1234               # => 1234
[ rand, rand ]           # => [0.1915194503788923, 0.6221087710398319]
static VALUE
rb_f_srand(int argc, VALUE *argv, VALUE obj)
    VALUE seed, old;
    rb_random_t *r = &default_rand;

    if (rb_check_arity(argc, 0, 1) == 0) {
        seed = random_seed();
    else {
        seed = rb_to_int(argv[0]);
    old = r->seed;
    r->seed = rand_init(&r->mt, seed);

    return old;
Instance Public methods
prng1 == prng2 → true or false

Returns true if the two generators have the same internal state, otherwise false. Equivalent generators will return the same sequence of pseudo-random numbers. Two generators will generally have the same state only if they were initialized with the same seed

Random.new == Random.new             # => false
Random.new(1234) == Random.new(1234) # => true

and have the same invocation history.

prng1 = Random.new(1234)
prng2 = Random.new(1234)
prng1 == prng2 # => true

prng1.rand     # => 0.1915194503788923
prng1 == prng2 # => false

prng2.rand     # => 0.1915194503788923
prng1 == prng2 # => true
static VALUE
random_equal(VALUE self, VALUE other)
    rb_random_t *r1, *r2;
    if (rb_obj_class(self) != rb_obj_class(other)) return Qfalse;
    r1 = get_rnd(self);
    r2 = get_rnd(other);
    if (memcmp(r1->mt.state, r2->mt.state, sizeof(r1->mt.state))) return Qfalse;
    if ((r1->mt.next - r1->mt.state) != (r2->mt.next - r2->mt.state)) return Qfalse;
    if (r1->mt.left != r2->mt.left) return Qfalse;
    return rb_equal(r1->seed, r2->seed);
prng.bytes(size) → a_string

Returns a random binary string containing size bytes.

random_string = Random.new.bytes(10) # => "\xD7:R\xAB?\x83\xCE\xFAkO"
random_string.size                   # => 10
static VALUE
random_bytes(VALUE obj, VALUE len)
    return genrand_bytes(get_rnd(obj), NUM2LONG(rb_to_int(len)));
prng.rand → float
prng.rand(max) → number

When max is an Integer, rand returns a random integer greater than or equal to zero and less than max. Unlike Kernel#rand, when max is a negative integer or zero, rand raises an ArgumentError.

prng = Random.new
prng.rand(100)       # => 42

When max is a Float, rand returns a random floating point number between 0.0 and max, including 0.0 and excluding max.

prng.rand(1.5)       # => 1.4600282860034115

When max is a Range, rand returns a random number where range.member?(number) == true.

prng.rand(5..9)      # => one of [5, 6, 7, 8, 9]
prng.rand(5...9)     # => one of [5, 6, 7, 8]
prng.rand(5.0..9.0)  # => between 5.0 and 9.0, including 9.0
prng.rand(5.0...9.0) # => between 5.0 and 9.0, excluding 9.0

Both the beginning and ending values of the range must respond to subtract (-) and add (+)methods, or rand will raise an ArgumentError.

static VALUE
random_rand(int argc, VALUE *argv, VALUE obj)
    VALUE v = rand_random(argc, argv, obj, get_rnd(obj));
    check_random_number(v, argv);
    return v;
prng.seed → integer

Returns the seed value used to initialize the generator. This may be used to initialize another generator with the same state at a later time, causing it to produce the same sequence of numbers.

prng1 = Random.new(1234)
prng1.seed       #=> 1234
prng1.rand(100)  #=> 47

prng2 = Random.new(prng1.seed)
prng2.rand(100)  #=> 47
static VALUE
random_get_seed(VALUE obj)
    return get_rnd(obj)->seed;