tsikov tsikov - 1 month ago 6
Javascript Question

How to generate random numbers in a very large range via javascript?

I was using this function for a long time and was happy with it. You probably saw it millions of times. It is even in the example section of the MDN documentation for Math.random()!

function random(min, max) {
return Math.floor(Math.random() * (max - min + 1)) + min
};


However when I called it on really large range it performed really poorly. Here are some results:

for(var i=0;i<100;i++) { console.log(random(0, 34359738368)) }

34064924616
6800671568
30945277424
2591785504
16404206304
29609031808
14821448928
10712020504
26471102024
21454653384
33180253592
28189739360
27189739528
1159593656
24058421888
13727549496
21995862272
20907450968
28767901872
8055552544
2856286816
28137132160
22775692392
21141911808
16418994064
28151646560
19928528408
11100796192
24022825648
17873139800
10310184976
7425284936
27043756016
2521657024
2864339728
8080550424
8812058632
8867252312
18571554760
19600873680
33687248280
14707542936
28864740112
26338252144
7877957776
28207487968
2268429496
14461565136
28062983608
5637084472
29651319832
31910601904
19776200528
16996597392
2478335752
4751145704
24803500872
21899551216
23144535632
19854787112
8490486080
14932659320
8625736560
11379900040
32357265704
33852039680
2826278800
4648275784
27363699728
14164020752
22279817656
25238815424
16569505656
30065335928
9904863008
26944796040
23179908064
19887944032
27944730648
16242926184
6518696400
25727832240
7496221976
19014687568
5685988776
34324757344
12538943128
21639530152
9532790800
25800487608
34329978920
10871183016
23748271688
23826614456
11774681408
667541072
1316689640
4539806456
2323113432
7782744448


Hardly random at all. All numbers are even.

My question is this: What is the CANONICAL way (if any) to overcome this problem? I have the impression that the above random function is the go-to function for random numbers in range. Thanks in advance.

Answer

The answer in general is don't use Math.random. It gets the job done, but it's not especially good. On top of that, any number in Javascript greater than 0xffffffffUL isn't represented by integer values--it's an IEEE 754 value with a behavior noted on the MDN site: "Note that as numbers in JavaScript are IEEE 754 floating point numbers with round-to-nearest-even behavior...."

And that's what you're seeing.

If you want larger random numbers, then you'll probably have to get something like Mersenne Twister or Blum-Blum-Shub 32-bit random integer values and multiply them. That will eliminate the rounding-off problem.

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