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This primer demonstrates usage of the standard module Random.chpl.

use Random;

This primer shows two ways to generate a sequence of random numbers: The first is by creating an array of random numbers using the Random.fillRandom function. The second way is to use a PCGRandomStream instance.

Using fillRandom

Call Random.fillRandom with an array argument. The array will be filled with random numbers.

var rands: [1..10] real;

Now writeln(rands) would output these random values, but then this program’s output would not be deterministic.

To produce deterministic output, specify the starting seed to use when filling the array.

var randsSeeded: [0..9] real;
var seed = 17;
fillRandom(randsSeeded, seed);
writeln("randsSeeded = ", randsSeeded); // Here the output is deterministic

Other numeric types are supported:

var rand16s: [1..10] uint(16);
fillRandom(rand16s, seed);
writeln("rand16s = ", rand16s); // Here the output is deterministic

Using RandomStream

The second way to generate a sequence of random numbers is by creating a PCGRandomStream class instance. The first argument is the type of the elements that the instance should generate. If a particular seed is desired, it should be specified upon creation of this instance.

var randStream = new RandomStream(real);
var randStreamSeeded = new RandomStream(real, seed);

Then the instance can be used to obtain the numbers. This can be done in a large chunk by calling fillRandom:

var randsFromStream: [1..10] real;

Or random numbers can be requested one at a a time.

var firstRand = randStreamSeeded.getNext();
writeln(firstRand == randsSeeded[0]);

Note that since since we are using the same seed, the numbers generated will match those generated earlier by fillRandom(randsSeeded, seed).

The next random number generated will follow the most recent…

var nextRand = randStreamSeeded.getNext();
writeln(nextRand == randsSeeded[1]);

…unless the position to look at has been changed.

var rand6 = randStreamSeeded.getNext();
writeln(rand6 == randsSeeded[6]);

A specific random number in the stream can be obtained by specifying the position. This argument must be greater than or equal to 0.

var rand1 = randStreamSeeded.getNth(1);
writeln(rand1 == nextRand);

This position can be earlier or later than the most recent.

var rand3 = randStreamSeeded.getNth(3);
writeln(rand3 == randsSeeded[3]);

The stream can be used to iterate over a specified set of positions.

for i in randStreamSeeded.iterate({5..10}, real) {

By default, access using the PCGRandomStream instance will be safe in the presence of parallelism. This can be changed for the entire stream during class creation. As a result, two parallel accesses or updates to the position from which reading is intended may conflict.

var parallelUnsafe       = new RandomStream(real, parSafe=false);
var parallelSeededUnsafe = new RandomStream(real, seed, false);

Now PCGRandomStream functions, such as parallelUnsafe.getNext() and parallelSeededUnsafe.getNext() can be called.

The RandomStream instances above were created with new [owned] and so are automatically deleted when they go out of scope.