29 Numerics library [numerics]

29.6 Random number generation [rand]

29.6.6 Class random_­device [rand.device]

A random_­device uniform random bit generator produces nondeterministic random numbers.

If implementation limitations prevent generating nondeterministic random numbers, the implementation may employ a random number engine.

class random_device {
public:
  // types
  using result_type = unsigned int;

  // generator characteristics
  static constexpr result_type min() { return numeric_limits<result_type>::min(); }
  static constexpr result_type max() { return numeric_limits<result_type>::max(); }

  // constructors
  explicit random_device(const string& token = implementation-defined);

  // generating functions
  result_type operator()();

  // property functions
  double entropy() const noexcept;

  // no copy functions
  random_device(const random_device& ) = delete;
  void operator=(const random_device& ) = delete;
};

explicit random_device(const string& token = implementation-defined);

Effects: Constructs a random_­device nondeterministic uniform random bit generator object. The semantics and default value of the token parameter are implementation-defined.271

Throws: A value of an implementation-defined type derived from exception if the random_­device could not be initialized.

double entropy() const noexcept;

Returns: If the implementation employs a random number engine, returns 0.0. Otherwise, returns an entropy estimate272 for the random numbers returned by operator(), in the range min() to .

result_type operator()();

Returns: A nondeterministic random value, uniformly distributed between min() and max(), inclusive. It is implementation-defined how these values are generated.

Throws: A value of an implementation-defined type derived from exception if a random number could not be obtained.

The parameter is intended to allow an implementation to differentiate between different sources of randomness.

If a device has n states whose respective probabilities are , the device entropy S is defined as
.