# Section (3) rand

## Name

rand, rand_r, srand — pseudo-random number generator

## Synopsis

`#include <stdlib.h>`
 ```int rand(``` `void)`;

 ```int rand_r(``` unsigned int *seedp`)`;

 ```void srand(``` unsigned int seed`)`;

Note
Feature Test Macro Requirements for glibc (see feature_test_macros(7)):
`rand_r`():
Since glibc 2.24:
`_POSIX_C_SOURCE` >= 199506L
Glibc 2.23 and earlier `_POSIX_C_SOURCE`

## DESCRIPTION

The `rand`() function returns a pseudo-random integer in the range 0 to `RAND_MAX` inclusive (i.e., the mathematical range [0, `RAND_MAX`]).

The `srand`() function sets its argument as the seed for a new sequence of pseudo-random integers to be returned by `rand`(). These sequences are repeatable by calling `srand`() with the same seed value.

If no seed value is provided, the `rand`() function is automatically seeded with a value of 1.

The function `rand`() is not reentrant, since it uses hidden state that is modified on each call. This might just be the seed value to be used by the next call, or it might be something more elaborate. In order to get reproducible behavior in a threaded application, this state must be made explicit; this can be done using the reentrant function `rand_r`().

Like `rand`(), `rand_r`() returns a pseudo-random integer in the range [0, `RAND_MAX`]. The `seedp` argument is a pointer to an unsigned int that is used to store state between calls. If `rand_r`() is called with the same initial value for the integer pointed to by `seedp`, and that value is not modified between calls, then the same pseudo-random sequence will result.

The value pointed to by the `seedp` argument of `rand_r`() provides only a very small amount of state, so this function will be a weak pseudo-random generator. Try drand48_r(3) instead.

## RETURN VALUE

The `rand`() and `rand_r`() functions return a value between 0 and `RAND_MAX` (inclusive). The `srand`() function returns no value.

## ATTRIBUTES

For an explanation of the terms used in this section, see attributes(7).

 Interface Attribute Value `rand`(), `rand_r`(), `srand`() Thread safety MT-Safe

## CONFORMING TO

The functions `rand`() and `srand`() conform to SVr4, 4.3BSD, C89, C99, POSIX.1-2001. The function `rand_r`() is from POSIX.1-2001. POSIX.1-2008 marks `rand_r`() as obsolete.

## NOTES

The versions of `rand`() and `srand`() in the Linux C Library use the same random number generator as random(3) and srandom(3), so the lower-order bits should be as random as the higher-order bits. However, on older `rand`() implementations, and on current implementations on different systems, the lower-order bits are much less random than the higher-order bits. Do not use this function in applications intended to be portable when good randomness is needed. (Use random(3) instead.)

## EXAMPLE

POSIX.1-2001 gives the following example of an implementation of `rand`() and `srand`(), possibly useful when one needs the same sequence on two different machines.

```static unsigned long next = 1;

/* RAND_MAX assumed to be 32767 */
int myrand(void) {
next = next * 1103515245 + 12345;
return((unsigned)(next/65536) % 32768);
}

void mysrand(unsigned int seed) {
next = seed;
}
```

The following program can be used to display the pseudo-random sequence produced by `rand`() when given a particular seed.

```#include <stdlib.h>
#include <stdio.h>

int
main(int argc, char *argv[])
{
int j, r, nloops;
unsigned int seed;

if (argc != 3) {
fprintf(stderr, Usage: %s <seed> <nloops>
, argv[0]);
exit(EXIT_FAILURE);
}

seed = atoi(argv[1]);
nloops = atoi(argv[2]);

srand(seed);
for (j = 0; j < nloops; j++) {
r =  rand();
printf(%d
, r);
}

exit(EXIT_SUCCESS);
}
```

## COLOPHON

This page is part of release 5.04 of the Linux `man-pages` project. A description of the project, information about reporting bugs, and the latest version of this page, can be found at https://www.kernel.org/doc/man−pages/.

 Copyright 1993 David Metcalfe (david(@)prism.demon.co.uk) %%%LICENSE_START(VERBATIM) Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this manual provided the copyright notice and this permission notice are preserved on all copies. Permission is granted to copy and distribute modified versions of this manual under the conditions for verbatim copying, provided that the entire resulting derived work is distributed under the terms of a permission notice identical to this one. Since the Linux kernel and libraries are constantly changing, this manual page may be incorrect or out-of-date.  The author(s) assume no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein.  The author(s) may not have taken the same level of care in the production of this manual, which is licensed free of charge, as they might when working professionally. Formatted or processed versions of this manual, if unaccompanied by the source, must acknowledge the copyright and authors of this work. %%%LICENSE_END References consulted:     Linux libc source code     Lewine_zsingle_quotesz_s _POSIX Programmer_zsingle_quotesz_s Guide_ (O_zsingle_quotesz_Reilly & Associates, 1991)     386BSD man pages Modified 1993-03-29, David Metcalfe Modified 1993-04-28, Lars Wirzenius Modified 1993-07-24, Rik Faith (faith(@)cs.unc.edu) Modified 1995-05-18, Rik Faith (faith(@)cs.unc.edu) to add          better discussion of problems with rand on other systems.          (Thanks to Esa Hyyti{ (ehyytia(@)snakemail.hut.fi).) Modified 1998-04-10, Nicolás Lichtmaier           with contribution from Francesco Potorti  Modified 2003-11-15, aeb, added rand_r 2010-09-13, mtk, added example program