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Random numbers

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Large numbers Java Programming
Random numbers
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To generate random numbers the Math.random() method can be used, which returns a double, greater than or equal to 0.0 and less than 1.0.

The following code returns a random integer between n and m (where n <= randomNumber < m):

Example Code section 3.30: A random integer.
  int randomNumber = n + (int)(Math.random() * ( m - n ));

Alternatively, the java.util.Random class provides methods for generating random booleans, bytes, floats, ints, longs and 'Gaussians' (doubles from a normal distribution with mean 0.0 and standard deviation 1.0). For example, the following code is equivalent to that above:

Example Code section 3.31: A random integer with Gaussian.
  Random random = new Random();
  int randomNumber = n + random.nextInt(m - n);

As an example using random numbers, we can make a program that uses a Random object to simulate flipping a coin 20 times:

Computer code Code listing 3.25: CoinFlipper.java
import java.util.Random;

public class CoinFlipper {

  public static void main(String[] args) {
    // The number of times to flip the coin
    final int TIMES_TO_FLIP = 20;
    int heads = 0;
    int tails = 0;
    // Create a Random object
    Random random = new Random();
    for (int i = 0; i < TIMES_TO_FLIP; i++) {
      // 0 or 1
      int result = random.nextInt(2);
      if (result == 1) {
        System.out.println("Heads");
        heads++;
      } else {
        System.out.println("Tails");
        tails++;
      }
    }
    System.out.println("There were "
            + heads
            + " heads and "
            + tails
            + " tails");
  }
}
Computer code Possible output for code listing 3.25
Heads
Tails
Tails
Tails
Heads
Tails
Heads
Heads
Heads
Heads
Heads
Heads
Tails
Tails
Tails
Tails
Heads
Tails
Tails
Tails
There were 9 heads and 11 tails

Of course, if you run the program you will probably get different results.

Truly random numbers[edit | edit source]

Both Math.random() and the Random class produce pseudorandom numbers. This is good enough for a lot of applications, but remember that it is not truly random. If you want a more secure random number generator, Java provides the java.security.SecureRandom package. What happens with Math.random() and the Random class is that a 'seed' is chosen from which the pseudorandom numbers are generated. SecureRandom increases the security to ensure that the seed which is used by the pseudorandom number generator is non-deterministic — that is, you cannot simply put the machine in the same state to get the same set of results. Once you have created a SecureRandom instance, you can use it in the same way as you can the Random class.

If you want truly random numbers, you can get a hardware random number generator or use a randomness generation service.


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To do:
Add some exercises like the ones in Variables


Large numbers Java Programming
Random numbers
Unicode