random_device Class


For the latest documentation on Visual Studio 2017 RC, see Visual Studio 2017 RC Documentation.

Generates a random sequence from an external device.

class random_device {
typedef unsigned int result_type; // cosntructor explicit random_device(const std::string& token = ""); // properties static result_type min(); static result_type max(); double entropy() const; // generate result_type operator()(); // no-copy functions random_device(const random_device&) = delete;
void operator=(const random_device&) = delete;


The class describes a source of random numbers, and is allowed but not required to be non-deterministic or cryptographically secure by the ISO C++ Standard. In the Visual Studio implementation the values produced are non-deterministic and cryptographically secure, but runs more slowly than generators created from engines and engine adaptors (such as mersenne_twister_engine, the high quality and fast engine of choice for most applications).

random_device results are uniformly distributed in the closed range [ 0, 232).

random_device is not guaranteed to result in a non-blocking call.

Generally, random_device is used to seed other generators created with engines or engine adaptors. For more information, see <random>.

The following code demonstrates basic functionality of this class and example results. Because of the non-deterministic nature of random_device, the random values shown in the Output section will not match your results. This is normal and expected.

// random_device_engine.cpp   
// cl.exe /W4 /nologo /EHsc /MTd   
#include <random>   
#include <iostream>   
using namespace std;  
int main()   
    random_device gen;   
    cout << "entropy == " << gen.entropy() << endl;   
    cout << "min == " << gen.min() << endl;   
    cout << "max == " << gen.max() << endl;   
    cout << "a random value == " << gen() << endl;   
    cout << "a random value == " << gen() << endl;   
    cout << "a random value == " << gen() << endl;   


entropy == 32min == 0max == 429496729510 random values:418382918114543916081176278697246883009639593472221803123400133959054513048968776040884902293276253  

This example is simplistic and not representative of the general use-case for this generator. For a more representative code example, see <random>.

Header: <random>

Namespace: std

Constructs the generator.

random_device(const std::string& = "");


The constructor initializes the generator as needed, ignoring the string parameter. Throws a value of an implementation-defined type derived from exception if the random_device could not be initialized.

For example code, see random_device.

Estimates the randomness of the source.

double entropy() const noexcept;  


The member function returns an estimate of the randomness of the source, as measured in bits.

For example code, see random_device.

Returns a random value.

result_type operator()();


Returns values uniformly distributed in the closed interval [ min, max] as determined by member functions min() and max(). Throws a value of an implementation-defined type derived from exception if a random number could not be obtained.

For example code, see random_device.