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NATIONAL BUREAU OF STANDARDS REPORT
3370
Generation and Testing of Pseudorandom Numbers
by
Olga Taussky and John Todd
U. S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
NATIONAL BUREAU OF STANDARDS
U. S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Sinclair Weeks, Secretary
NATIONAL BUREAU OF STANDARDS A. V. Astin, Director
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NATIONAL BUREAU OF STANDARDS REPORT NBS PROJECT NBS REPORT
1102101 10^ June 22, 195^
Generation and Testing of Pseudorandom Numbers
by
Olga Taussky and John Todd
U. S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
NATIONAL BUREAU OF STANDARDS
The publication, ri
unless permission!
25 , D.C, Such pe
cal ly prepared If I
Approved for public release by the
Director of the National Institute of
Standards and Technology (NIST)
on October 9, 2015
r in part, is prohibited
tandards, Washington
eport has been specifi
report for its own use,
3370
 r
.
Generation and Testing of Pseudorandom Numbers
Olga Taussky and John Todd
National Bureau of Standards
1 . INTRODUCTION
We shall confine our attention to generation and testing of
sequences of pseudorandom numbers by arithmetical* processes on
automatic high speed digital computers e We shall also confine our
attention mainly to a uniform distribution** of random numbers
not random digits*** The approximation of normal deviates and
other random variates by polynomials in uniform variates has been
discussed in detail by Teichroew [I 3 ]j for other methods e 0 g s?
acceptance or rejection methods, see von Neumann [6, 3638] and
Votaw and Rafferty [l6] e
We also confine our attention to the results of testing, not to
the design of tests 0 Apart from the "quality" of the number gener
ated we are mainly concerned with the speed of production c
Thgj^^seems to be no published information about the testing O f o^pKysicSl. processes incorporated in automatic high speed computers
such as the Ferranti or ERA machines 0 **For practical purposes we have found it satisfactory to approximate a normal deviate by the addition of some 8 or 12 uniform deviates;: for a report on experiments concerning this, see Cameron and Newman [ 3 ]. See also Juncosa [ 17] 0
*** The following caution is necessary. It might be supposed that the digits in particular fixed positions of pseudorandom numbers would be satisfactory pseudorandom digits. Tests carried out by Juncosa [

7] show that this is not the case; sequences which were very good pseudorandom numbers, gave rise to sequences of pseudorandom digits which could at best be classed as fair.
2
The written words about this topic seem to begin with Lehmer’s
paper [7] presented at Harvard l4 September 1 9^+9 ? shortly followed
by Mauchly’s paper [ 8 ] presented to the American Statistical As
sociation on 29 December 19^9) . A fairly comprehensive account was
included in a thesis of Teichroew [13] „
Lehmer’s definition of a pseudorandom sequence is worth repeating
it is ?, a vague notion embodying the idea of a sequence in which each
term is unpredictable to the uninitiated and whose digits pass a
certain number of tests, traditional with statisticians and depending
somewhat on the uses to which the sequence is to be put,”
2, MIDSQUARE METHODS
Lehmer mentioned the socalled midsquare method used on
the ENIAC and due to von Neumann and Metropolis [see N 0 Metropolis
(10)], This can be described as follows, in a special case. Take
a 4 digit number x 0 , e 0 g s x q = 206 1 0 Square it to obtain 0 If2)+7721 0
Define x^ = 2I+77? the middle four digits of x q
^ 0 Next x^ = 06135529
and x^ = 1355. Similarly x^ = 8360 , x^ = 8896 , etc.
The detailed steps necessary to obtain x^ , for instance, on SEAC,
the National Bureau of Standards Eastern Automatic Computer are as
follows: Take the low product of x Q
by itself to obtain 7721 5
then take the high product of this by 0100 to obtain 0077 o Take the
high product of x q
by itself to obtain 0*+2^$ then take the low pro
duct of this by 0100 to obtain 2^00 o Add 0077 and 2^00 to obtain
3
= 2477. This process can be shortened and speeded up in the
case of machines which have e,g o) shiftorders.
For the results of some tests on numbers generated this way see
Mauchly [8] and Votaw and Rafferty [l6]. For tests carried out
by punched card equipment see Hammer [6, p. 33 ] , and Forsythe [6,
PP. 3^35]. Satisfactory results have been obtained by these methods
in certain cases.
3o CONGRUENTIAL METHODS  MULTIPLICATIVE
These also are first mentioned by Lehmer, He used the
relation
x ... = k x (mod M) n+ 1 n
o
with k = 23, M = 10° + 1 for ENIAC. This sequence produces 8decimal
digit numbers with period 5882352. The choice of 23 is best possible
for this modulus in so far as that no larger multiplier produces
a longer period and no smaller multiplier produces a period more than
half as long.
Tests on 5000 numbers generated this way were carried out, using
punched card equipment by L. E. Cunningham, and they were found
satisfactory.
In using ENIAC it was possible to sample these pseudorandom num
bers at random; this additional precautionary measure is not con
venient on other machines.
In 1950, when the National Bureau of Standards Eastern Automatic
Computer came into operation it was decided to carry out a series of
experiments in the Monte Carlo method: solution of partial differ
ential equations [ 1 5 ] ? inverting of matrices LI 1*], etc, For these
experiments we have used random numbers generated as follows:
(1) x0 ~ x n+1 “ f xn (mod 2
1*2 )
where ^
is any odd power of 5. In practice ^
= 5 , (the largest
power of 5 acceptable by the machine) and x q
could be any integer
1+0 "l 2 satisfying x = 1 (mod 5). This sequence has period 2 ^ 10 It is generated by a single order: low multiplication.
We shall now illustrate the behavior of a similar sequence in a
simple case. We take the residues mod 2^ of powers of 5j these have
period 16. They are, in decimal notation,
1, 5, 25 , 61 , b9 9 53, 9, **5, 33, 37, 57, 29 , 17, 21 , ^ 1 , 13, Iv
or in binary
000001 , 000101 , 011001 , 111101 , 110001 , 110101 , 001001 , 101101 ,
100001 ,
100101 ,
111001 , 011101 , 010001 , 010101 , 101001 , 001 101 . M#
We note that the period of the digits in a particular position
in