Random Numbers in Python

03.08.2023 | Sergey Danilov in howto

Unleashing the Power of Randomness

Random numbers play a crucial role in various fields, including simulations, cryptography, gaming, and scientific research. At the heart of this mystical phenomenon lies the quest for unpredictability and true randomness. In Python, we are bestowed with an assortment of tools to generate these elusive numbers, each with its distinct charm.

Pseudo-Random Number Generation

Python’s random module takes center stage when it comes to generating pseudo-random numbers. Pseudo-random numbers may appear random, but they are determined by an initial seed value. As a result, they are deterministic and repeatable, which can be advantageous for debugging purposes.

However, one must exercise caution when using the random module for sensitive applications such as cryptography. The randomness generated by the random module can be predictable if the seed value is known, making it unsuitable for cryptographic purposes.

Generating Pseudo-Random Numbers:

import random

# Generate a random integer between 1 and 100 (inclusive)
random_number = random.randint(1, 100)
print("Your Pseudo-Random Number is :", random_number)

Generating True Random Numbers

While pseudo-random numbers serve most purposes well, there are scenarios where true randomness is indispensable. This is where random.org comes to the rescue. Random.org is a website that provides true randomness by leveraging atmospheric noise as a source of entropy.
When using random.org, we tap into the unpredictable elements of nature, making it ideal for applications like cryptographic key generation, lottery draws, and fairness in competitions. By making API calls to random.org, we gain access to genuinely random numbers that hold the potential for serendipitous discoveries.

True Randomness with random.org:

import requests

def fetch_true_random_numbers(quantity):
    url = f"https://www.random.org/integers/?num={quantity}&min=1&max=10000&col=1&base=10&format=plain&rnd=new"
    response = requests.get(url)
    return [int(num) for num in response.text.strip().split()]

# Fetch 5 true random numbers between 1 and 10000 (inclusive)
true_random_numbers = fetch_true_random_numbers(5)
print("True Random Numbers:", true_random_numbers)

Gaussian Random

Gaussian random, also known as normal distribution, follows the famous bell-shaped curve. This distribution is characterized by its mean (center) and standard deviation (spread). Gaussian random numbers are prevalent in statistical analyses and simulations, representing real-world phenomena like height, weight, and test scores.

The beauty of Gaussian random lies in its ability to produce clustered data around the mean, with the probability of extreme values decreasing exponentially. This makes it an indispensable tool in fields such as finance, where it is used to model stock prices and risk assessments.

Generating Gaussian Random Numbers:

import numpy as np
# Generate 1000 Gaussian random numbers with mean 0 and standard deviation 1
gaussian_random_numbers = np.random.normal(loc=0, scale=1, size=1000)
print("Gaussian Random Numbers:", gaussian_random_numbers[:10])

Uniform Random

Uniform random numbers are the epitome of fairness. They have an equal probability of occurring within a given range and exhibit a flat distribution. These numbers find applications in various areas, including random sampling, Monte Carlo simulations, and cryptography.
Uniform random numbers can be used to simulate unbiased dice rolls, generate random points within a geometric shape, or fairly allocate resources among competing entities.

Generating Uniform Random Numbers:

# Generate 5 uniform random numbers between 0 and 1
uniform_random_numbers = np.random.rand(5)
print("Uniform Random Numbers:", uniform_random_numbers)

Discrete Random: The Integers of Chance

Discrete random numbers are whole numbers within a specified range. They are used in situations where only integer values are meaningful. Dice rolling, selecting items randomly from a list, or simulating the outcome of a board game are classic examples where discrete random numbers come into play.
In Python, the “random.choice” function allows us to pick a random element from a list, providing the joy of unpredictability in our code.

Generating Discrete Random Numbers:

# Generate a random integer from the given choices
choices = [2, 4, 6, 8, 10]
random_choice = random.choice(choices)
print("Discrete Random Choice:", random_choice)

Secrets Library

When it comes to cryptographic applications, ensuring high-quality random numbers is of paramount importance. The secrets library in Python caters specifically to this need. Unlike the random module, secrets use a more robust source of randomness, making it suitable for security-sensitive operations such as generating cryptographic keys and salts.

Using Secrets Library for Cryptography:

import secrets

# Generate a secure random integer between 1 and 100 (inclusive)
secure_random_number = secrets.randbelow(100) + 1 # + 1 means including 100
print("Secure Random Number:", secure_random_number)

UUID Values

UUID (Universally Unique Identifier) values offer a reliable way to generate unique identifiers across various systems and platforms. They are particularly valuable in distributed systems, databases, and ensuring uniqueness in large datasets. UUIDs are designed to minimize the risk of collisions, making them suitable for scenarios where uniqueness is critical.

Generating UUIDs

import uuid

# Generate a random UUID
random_uuid = uuid.uuid4()
print("Random UUID:", random_uuid)


In conclusion, Python’s versatile random number generation capabilities enable the exploration and exploitation of inherent uncertainty and unpredictability. By leveraging various methods, including pseudo-random and true randomness sources, Gaussian and uniform distributions, and cryptographic-grade randomness, researchers and practitioners gain the means to simulate intricate systems, enhance statistical simulations, secure sensitive data, and generate universally unique identifiers (UUIDs). Embracing the unpredictable nature of random numbers fosters novel discoveries and promotes innovation within scientific domains, stimulating further exploration and creative insights. The Pythonic realm of randomness presents a promising avenue for scientific endeavors, where the magic of stochasticity intertwines with computational power, propelling researchers to delve deeper into the mysteries of chance and its impact on complex systems.

Sergey Danilov
Sergey Danilov
Sergey Danilov is a Data Scientist. His areas of expertise are time series analysis and he continuously strives to advance in the ever-changing field of data science.


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