# How Java Random Seed Works

Random numbers are important in many areas, like simulations, games, and cryptography. However, these numbers aren’t completely random. Instead, they are created by algorithms that simulate randomness called pseudo-randomness. The random seed is the value that initializes the pseudo-random number generator (PRNG) in Java.

This article will explore how a random seed works in Java, and how to use it to generate predictable sequences of numbers.

## 1. What is a Random Seed?

A **random seed** is an initial value that sets the internal state of a PRNG (Pseudo-Random Number Generation). By default, Java’s `Random`

class uses the system clock as the seed value if we don’t explicitly provide one. This ensures that each time we create a new `Random`

object, the sequence of numbers is different.

However, if we supply a specific seed value, the same sequence of “**random**” numbers will be generated every time. This is useful for situations where we want reproducibility, such as testing, debugging, or simulations where results need consistency.

### 1.1 Pseudo-Random Number Generation Process

The PRNG (Pseudo-Random Number Generator) algorithm produces a sequence of numbers based on the seed value. Every time we call methods like `nextInt()`

, `nextDouble()`

, or similar, it updates the generator’s internal state, guaranteeing a new number each time. However, if the same seed is used, the sequence of numbers will always be the same.

## 2. Generating Random Numbers without a Seed

Java provides the `java.util.Random`

class, which is widely used to generate random numbers. When we create an instance of `Random`

without specifying a seed, Java uses the system clock to seed the generator. This means every run will produce different sequences. For example:

import java.util.Random; public class RandomWithoutSeed { public static void main(String[] args) { Random random = new Random(); // Generate 7 random integers for (int i = 0; i < 7; i++) { System.out.format("%d \t", random.nextInt(100)); // Random integers from 0 to 99 } System.out.println(); Random random2 = new Random(); for (int i = 0; i < 7; i++) { System.out.format("%d \t", random2.nextInt(100)); // Random integers from 0 to 99 } System.out.println(); Random random3 = new Random(); for (int i = 0; i < 7; i++) { System.out.format("%d \t", random3.nextInt(100)); // Random integers from 0 to 99 } } }

In this example, each run generates a different sequence of random integers because the seed is set automatically based on the current time.

**Output (will vary each time)**

47 58 84 6 68 72 71 33 39 89 6 11 34 53 41 19 85 52 52 4 59

48 68 34 52 60 80 10 57 43 93 62 58 43 26 31 7 52 56 92 94 92

## 3. Generating Random Numbers with a Seed

When we provide a specific seed, the sequence of numbers is predictable and consistent across different runs.

import java.util.Random; public class RandomWithSeed { public static void main(String[] args) { Random random = new Random(12345L); // Seed is set to 12345 // Generate 7 random integers for (int i = 0; i < 7; i++) { System.out.format("%d \t", random.nextInt(100)); // Random integers from 0 to 99 } System.out.println(); Random random2 = new Random(12345L); // Seed is set to 12345 for (int i = 0; i < 7; i++) { System.out.format("%d \t", random2.nextInt(100)); // Random integers from 0 to 99 } System.out.println(); Random random3 = new Random(12345L); // Seed is set to 12345 for (int i = 0; i < 7; i++) { System.out.format("%d \t", random3.nextInt(100)); // Random integers from 0 to 99 } } }

Here, the `Random`

class constructor takes a seed value as an argument, and in this case, the seed is set to `12345L`

, a specific long value. This seed initializes the pseudo-random number generator (PRNG) and is important because it ensures that, if the program is run with the same seed, it will always produce the same sequence of numbers.

**Output**

51 80 41 28 55 84 75 51 80 41 28 55 84 75 51 80 41 28 55 84 75

No matter how many times we run the program, we will always get the same sequence of numbers. This is because the seed ensures that the internal state of the PRNG starts at the same point.

**Output (will be the same every time)**

51 80 41 28 55 84 75 51 80 41 28 55 84 75 51 80 41 28 55 84 75

## 4. Using SecureRandom

In cryptographic applications, the use of predictable random numbers can lead to security vulnerabilities. Java provides the `SecureRandom`

class for cryptographically secure random number generation. `SecureRandom`

uses more sophisticated algorithms to ensure randomness.

import java.security.SecureRandom; public class SecureRandomExample { public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception { SecureRandom secureRandom = new SecureRandom(); // Generate a secure random number for (int i = 0; i < 5; i++) { System.out.println(secureRandom.nextInt(100)); // Secure random integers from 0 to 99 } } }

While `SecureRandom`

can accept seeds, it is crucial to use it correctly. In most cases, allowing the system to automatically manage the seed based on entropy sources ensures stronger randomness.

## 5. Conclusion

In this article, we explored how the random seed in Java works and how it influences the generation of pseudo-random numbers. By understanding how seeds affect randomness, we can control the behaviour of our applications, whether we need consistency for testing or varied results for simulations. Additionally, we highlighted the use of `SecureRandom`

for cryptographic purposes, ensuring secure and unpredictable random numbers.

## 6. Download the Source Code

This article covered the concept of Java random seed.