C Programming Examples

C Program to Generate Random Numbers
Welcome to today’s blog post! Today, we are going to explore the fascinating world of generating random numbers using
srand()
,rand()
, and awhile
loop in the C programming language. Whether you are new to coding or already familiar with C, this post will provide valuable insights into this topic.Introduction
Random numbers play a crucial role in many applications and algorithms. From gaming and simulations to cryptography and statistical analysis, the need for randomness is ubiquitous. Fortunately, C provides us with builtin functions to generate random numbers efficiently. In this post, we will dive into the
srand()
andrand()
functions, and explore how they can be combined with awhile
loop to generate a sequence of random numbers.The
srand()
FunctionBefore we learn about generating random numbers using
rand()
, let’s first talk aboutsrand()
.srand()
stands for “seed random” and is used to initialize the random number generator algorithm used byrand()
.The
srand()
function takes an unsigned integer value as its argument, known as the seed. The seed is used to derive a starting point, or a reference, for the sequence of random numbers generated byrand()
. By using a different seed value, we can generate a different sequence of random numbers.Here’s an example of using
srand()
to initialize the random number generator:#include <stdio.h> #include <stdlib.h> #include <time.h> int main() { srand(time(0)); // Initialize with current time as the seed // Rest of the code goes here return 0; }
In the above example, we include the necessary header files
stdio.h
,stdlib.h
, andtime.h
. Thetime(0)
function is used to obtain the current time as an argument forsrand()
, ensuring that the seed is different each time we run the program. This ensures that each time we receive a different set of random numbers.The
rand()
FunctionNow that we understand how to seed the random number generator, let’s move on to the
rand()
function itself.The line generates pseudorandom numbers within a specified range using rand().
The stdlib.h header file defines a constant RAND_MAX, which represents the largest positive value that rand() can return. By default, rand() returns values ranging from 0 to RAND_MAX. This value may vary across different implementations and platforms.
To generate random numbers within a specific range, we can make use of arithmetic operations. For example, if we want a random number between
0
and99
, we can use the following formula:int randomNum = rand() % 100; // Get a random number between 0 and 99
In the above example, we use the modulo operator
%
to obtain the remainder after division by100
. This effectively limits the range of random values to0
through99
.Using a
while
Loop for Continuous Random Number GenerationGenerating a single random number might not be enough for some applications. In such cases, we need to generate random numbers continuously until we meet a certain condition. This is where a
while
loop comes in handy.Here’s a simple example of a C program that generates random numbers using the
rand()
function from thestdlib.h
library Let’s say we want to generate random numbers until we encounter a number that is divisible by7
. We can achieve this using awhile
loop as shown below:#include <stdio.h> #include <stdlib.h> #include <time.h> int main() { srand(time(0)); // Initialize with current time as the seed int randomNumber = 0; while (randomNumber % 7 != 0) { randomNumber = rand() % 100; // Generate random number between 0 and 99 printf("%d ", randomNumber); // Print the random number } return 0; }
In the above example, we initialize the variable
randomNumber
with0
and enter thewhile
loop. Inside the loop, we generate a random number between0
and99
usingrand() % 100
, and then check if it is divisible by7
using the conditionrandomNumber % 7 != 0
. If the condition is true, we print the random number. If the condition is false, we exit the loop.This loop will continue generating random numbers until we encounter a number that is divisible by
7
. Feel free to modify the condition and experiment with different scenarios!Customizing the Random Number Range
Sometimes, we want to generate random numbers within a specific custom range, rather than the default range of
0
toRAND_MAX
. To achieve this, we can make use of a few mathematical operations.For example, if we want to generate random numbers between
10
and50
, inclusive, we can use the following formula:int randomNum = rand() % (50  10 + 1) + 10; // Generate random number between 10 and 50
In the above example, we subtract
10
from50
and add1
to include both ends of the range. Then, we calculate the modulo of the result with the total range size (41
in this case) and add10
to shift the range to start from10
.By customizing the arithmetic operations in this manner, we can generate random numbers within any desired range.
Generating random numbers with a specific distribution
In some cases, you may need to generate random numbers with a specific distribution, such as a normal distribution or a uniform distribution. While the
rand()
function alone cannot generate random numbers with specific distributions, you can use mathematical techniques and libraries to achieve this.There are several libraries available for generating random numbers with specific distributions in C, such as the GNU Scientific Library (GSL) and the Random123 library. These libraries provide functions and algorithms for generating random numbers according to various distributions.
To use these libraries, you need to download and install them, and then include the necessary header files in your program. Once included, you can use the provided functions to generate random numbers with the desired distribution.
Conclusion
Congratulations! You have successfully learned how to generate random numbers using
srand()
,rand()
, and awhile
loop in C. We explored thesrand()
function and how it seeds the random number generator, as well as therand()
function and how it generates pseudorandom numbers within a specified range.We also discussed how to use a
while
loop to continuously generate random numbers until a certain condition is met, and how to customize the range of the random numbers generated.Now that you have a solid understanding of generating random numbers in C, you can apply this knowledge to a wide variety of applications such as game development, data analysis, and more. Happy coding!