DRAND48(3P) POSIX Programmer's Manual DRAND48(3P)PROLOG
This manual page is part of the POSIX Programmer's Manual. The Linux
implementation of this interface may differ (consult the corresponding
Linux manual page for details of Linux behavior), or the interface may
not be implemented on Linux.
drand48, erand48, jrand48, lcong48, lrand48, mrand48, nrand48, seed48,
srand48 — generate uniformly distributed pseudo-random numbers
double erand48(unsigned short xsubi);
long jrand48(unsigned short xsubi);
void lcong48(unsigned short param);
long nrand48(unsigned short xsubi);
unsigned short *seed48(unsigned short seed16v);
void srand48(long seedval);
This family of functions shall generate pseudo-random numbers using a
linear congruential algorithm and 48-bit integer arithmetic.
The drand48() and erand48() functions shall return non-negative, dou‐
ble-precision, floating-point values, uniformly distributed over the
The lrand48() and nrand48() functions shall return non-negative, long
integers, uniformly distributed over the interval [0,231).
The mrand48() and jrand48() functions shall return signed long integers
uniformly distributed over the interval [−231,231).
The srand48(), seed48(), and lcong48() functions are initialization
entry points, one of which should be invoked before either drand48(),
lrand48(), or mrand48() is called. (Although it is not recommended
practice, constant default initializer values shall be supplied auto‐
matically if drand48(), lrand48(), or mrand48() is called without a
prior call to an initialization entry point.) The erand48(), nrand48(),
and jrand48() functions do not require an initialization entry point to
be called first.
All the routines work by generating a sequence of 48-bit integer val‐
ues, X_i , according to the linear congruential formula:
Xn+1 = (aX_n +c)mod m n≥ 0
The parameter m=2^48; hence 48-bit integer arithmetic is performed.
Unless lcong48() is invoked, the multiplier value a and the addend
value c are given by:
a = 5DEECE66D16 = 2736731631558
c = B16 = 138
The value returned by any of the drand48(), erand48(), jrand48(),
lrand48(), mrand48(), or nrand48() functions is computed by first gen‐
erating the next 48-bit X_i in the sequence. Then the appropriate num‐
ber of bits, according to the type of data item to be returned, are
copied from the high-order (leftmost) bits of X_i and transformed into
the returned value.
The drand48(), lrand48(), and mrand48() functions store the last 48-bit
X_i generated in an internal buffer; that is why the application shall
ensure that these are initialized prior to being invoked. The
erand48(), nrand48(), and jrand48() functions require the calling pro‐
gram to provide storage for the successive X_i values in the array
specified as an argument when the functions are invoked. That is why
these routines do not have to be initialized; the calling program
merely has to place the desired initial value of X_i into the array and
pass it as an argument. By using different arguments, erand48(),
nrand48(), and jrand48() allow separate modules of a large program to
generate several independent streams of pseudo-random numbers; that is,
the sequence of numbers in each stream shall not depend upon how many
times the routines are called to generate numbers for the other
The initializer function srand48() sets the high-order 32 bits of X_i
to the low-order 32 bits contained in its argument. The low-order 16
bits of X_i are set to the arbitrary value 330E_16 .
The initializer function seed48() sets the value of X_i to the 48-bit
value specified in the argument array. The low-order 16 bits of X_i are
set to the low-order 16 bits of seed16v. The mid-order 16 bits of
X_i are set to the low-order 16 bits of seed16v. The high-order 16
bits of X_i are set to the low-order 16 bits of seed16v. In addi‐
tion, the previous value of X_i is copied into a 48-bit internal buf‐
fer, used only by seed48(), and a pointer to this buffer is the value
returned by seed48(). This returned pointer, which can just be ignored
if not needed, is useful if a program is to be restarted from a given
point at some future time—use the pointer to get at and store the last
X_i value, and then use this value to reinitialize via seed48() when
the program is restarted.
The initializer function lcong48() allows the user to specify the ini‐
tial X_i , the multiplier value a, and the addend value c. Argument
array elements param[0-2] specify X_i , param[3-5] specify the multi‐
plier a, and param specifies the 16-bit addend c. After lcong48() is
called, a subsequent call to either srand48() or seed48() shall restore
the standard multiplier and addend values, a and c, specified above.
The drand48(), lrand48(), and mrand48() functions need not be thread-
As described in the DESCRIPTION above.
No errors are defined.
The following sections are informative.
The Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1‐2008, <stdlib.h>
Portions of this text are reprinted and reproduced in electronic form
from IEEE Std 1003.1, 2013 Edition, Standard for Information Technology
-- Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX), The Open Group Base
Specifications Issue 7, Copyright (C) 2013 by the Institute of Electri‐
cal and Electronics Engineers, Inc and The Open Group. (This is
POSIX.1-2008 with the 2013 Technical Corrigendum 1 applied.) In the
event of any discrepancy between this version and the original IEEE and
The Open Group Standard, the original IEEE and The Open Group Standard
is the referee document. The original Standard can be obtained online
at http://www.unix.org/online.html .
Any typographical or formatting errors that appear in this page are
most likely to have been introduced during the conversion of the source
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IEEE/The Open Group 2013 DRAND48(3P)