Ana Sayfa / Programlama / C# / Random number generator only generating one random number

Random number generator only generating one random number

I have the following function:

//Function to get random number
public static int RandomNumber(int min, int max)
{
    Random random = new Random();
    return random.Next(min, max);
}

How I call it

byte[] mac = new byte[6];
for (int x = 0; x < 6; ++x)
    mac[x] = (byte)(Misc.RandomNumber((int)0xFFFF, (int)0xFFFFFF) % 256);

If I step that loop with the debugger during runtime I get different values (which is what I want). However, if I put a breakpoint two lines below that code, all members of the “mac” array have equal value.

Solution

Every time you do new Random() it is initialized using the clock. This means that in a tight loop you get the same value lots of times. You should keep a single Random instance and keep using Next the same instance.

//Function to get a random number 
private static readonly Random random = new Random(); 
private static readonly object syncLock = new object(); 
public static int RandomNumber(int min, int max)
{
    lock(syncLock) { // synchronize
        return random.Next(min, max);
    }
}

Edit (see comments): why do we need a lock here?

Basically, Next is going to change the internal state of the random instance. If we do that at the same time from multiple threads, you could argue “we’ve just made the outcome even more random”, but what we are actually doing is potentially breaking the internal implementation, and we could also start getting the same numbers from different threads, which might be a problem – and might not. The guarantee of what happens internally is the bigger issue, though; sincerandom does not make any guarantees of thread-safety. Thus there are two valid approaches:

  • synchronize so that we don’t access it at the same time from different threads
  • use different random instances per thread

Either can be fine; but mutexing a single instance from multiple callers at the same time is just asking for trouble.

The lock achieves the first (and simpler) of these approaches; however, another approach might be:

private static readonly ThreadLocal<Random> appRandom
     = new ThreadLocal<Random>(() => new Random());

this is then per-thread, so you don’t need to synchronize.