#random #prng

app random_number_generators

A command line tool to compare a range of PRNGs

1 unstable release

0.2.0 Aug 27, 2019

#25 in #prng

MIT license

87 lines

Random Number Generators

This is a project demonstrating a range of random number generators allowing a simple comparison of each. This repository consists of two parts, a command line utility which allow the generation of pseudo random numbers using a range of different algorithms. The other component is a talk about how we generate random numbers on a computer.

Installation of Command Line Utility

The command line utility is written in Rust, which can be installed by following the instructions at https://rustup.rs/.

Once the rustup tool has been installed the command

cargo install random_number_generators

will download and install the binary in the directory ~/.cargo/bin

Alternatively, instead of installing using cargo the repository can be cloned to your local computer using

git clone https://github.com/malramsay64/random_number_generators

which once inside the random_number_generators directory

cd random_number_generators

the command

cargo run -- --help

will build the binary for your machine, and run it with the flag --help, displaying all the options.

The command line tool

The command line tool generates sequences of random numbers which are printed to the console (stdout). There are a range of different Pseudo-Random Number Generators (PRNG) from which to choose from

  • CPP
  • Twister
  • PCG
  • Xorshift

Each of the different PRNG can be chosen using the first argument.

As an example of use I will generate 10,000 points in 3D space using the RANDU generator which I use to demonstrate how terrible it is.

random_number_generators randu --dimensions 3 --num_samples 10000 --seed 0

This can be saved to a text file for later analysis using redirection

random_number_generators randu --dimensions 3 --num_samples 10000 --seed 0 > randu.txt

The Presentation

A presentation covering what PRNGs are, some of their history and a look at what we currently use.

The slides for the presentation are in the slides.md file which is converted to latex using pandoc and finally converted to a pdf using tectonic.

Installation of Tools

There are a number of tools used in this process and to make it easier they are managed using the conda package manager. This is available as a minimal image in miniconda, with installation instructions available here.

Once conda is installed, running the command

conda env create

in the random_number_generators directory will install all the necessary packages in a virtual environment which can be accessed using the command

conda activate rng

With the environment activated, the command


will create a file main.pdf which contains the presentation.