Javascript: Generate a random number within a range using crypto.getRandomValues

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I understand you can generate a random number in JavaScript within a range using this function:

function getRandomInt (min, max) {
    return Math.floor(Math.random() * (max - min + 1)) + min;
}

Courtesy of IonuČ› G. Stan here.

What I want to know is if you can generate a better random number in a range using crypto.getRandomValues() instead of Math.random(). I would like to be able to generate a number between 0 and 10 inclusive, or 0 – 1, or even 10 – 5000 inclusive.

You’ll note Math.random() produces a number like: 0.8565239671015732.

The getRandomValues API might return something like:

  • 231 with Uint8Array(1)
  • 54328 with Uint16Array(1)
  • 355282741 with Uint32Array(1).

So how to translate that back to a decimal number so I can keep with the same range algorithm above? Or do I need a new algorithm?

Here’s the code I tried but it doesn’t work too well.

function getRandomInt(min, max) {       
    // Create byte array and fill with 1 random number
    var byteArray = new Uint8Array(1);
    window.crypto.getRandomValues(byteArray);

    // Convert to decimal
    var randomNum = '0.' + byteArray[0].toString();

    // Get number in range
    randomNum = Math.floor(randomNum * (max - min + 1)) + min;

    return randomNum;
}

At the low end (range 0 – 1) it returns more 0’s than 1’s. What’s the best way to do it with getRandomValues()?

Many thanks

Answer

The easiest way is probably by rejection sampling (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rejection_sampling). For example, assuming that max - min is less than 256:

function getRandomInt(min, max) {       
    // Create byte array and fill with 1 random number
    var byteArray = new Uint8Array(1);
    window.crypto.getRandomValues(byteArray);

    var range = max - min + 1;
    var max_range = 256;
    if (byteArray[0] >= Math.floor(max_range / range) * range)
        return getRandomInt(min, max);
    return min + (byteArray[0] % range);
}


Source: stackoverflow