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Oracle® TimesTen In-Memory Database PL/SQL Packages Reference
Release 11.2.1

Part Number E14000-04
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5 DBMS_RANDOM

The DBMS_RANDOM package provides a built-in random number generator.

This chapter contains the following topics:

Note:

DBMS_RANDOM is not intended for cryptography.

Using DBMS_RANDOM


Operational notes

DBMS_RANDOM can be explicitly initialized but does not require initialization before a call to the random number generator. It will automatically initialize with the date, user ID, and process ID if no explicit initialization is performed.

If this package is seeded twice with the same seed, then accessed in the same way, it will produce the same result in both cases.

In some cases, such as when testing, you may want the sequence of random numbers to be the same on every run. In that case, you seed the generator with a constant value by calling an overload of DBMS_RANDOM.SEED. To produce different output for every run, simply omit the seed call and the system will choose a suitable seed for you.


Summary of DBMS_RANDOM subprograms

Table 5-1 DBMS_RANDOM package subprograms

Subprogram Description

INITIALIZE procedure

Initializes the package with a seed value.

NORMAL function

Returns random numbers in a normal distribution.

RANDOM function

Generates a random number.

SEED procedure

Resets the seed.

STRING function

Gets a random string.

TERMINATE procedure

Terminates package.

VALUE function

One version gets a random number greater than or equal to 0 and less than 1, with 38 digits to the right of the decimal point (38-digit precision). The other version gets a random Oracle number x, where x is greater than or equal to a specified lower limit and less than a specified higher limit.


Note:

The INITIALIZE procedure, RANDOM function and the TERMINATE procedure are deprecated. They are included in this release for legacy reasons only.

Notes:

  • The PLS_INTEGER and BINARY_INTEGER data types are identical. This document uses BINARY_INTEGER to indicate data types in reference information (such as for table types, record types, subprogram parameters, or subprogram return values), but may use either in discussion and examples.

  • The INTEGER and NUMBER(38) data types are also identical. This document uses INTEGER throughout.


INITIALIZE procedure

This procedure is deprecated. Although currently supported, it should not be used. It initializes the random number generator.

Syntax

DBMS_RANDOM.INITIALIZE (
   val  IN  BINARY_INTEGER);

Parameters

Table 5-2 INITIALIZE procedure parameters

Parameter Description

val

The seed number used to generate a random number.


Usage notes

This procedure is obsolete as it simply calls the SEED procedure.


NORMAL function

This function returns random numbers in a standard normal distribution.

Syntax

DBMS_RANDOM.NORMAL
  RETURN NUMBER;

Return value

The random number, a NUMBER value.


RANDOM function

This procedure is deprecated. Although currently supported, it should not be used. It generates and returns a random number.

Syntax

DBMS_RANDOM.RANDOM
   RETURN binary_integer;

Return value

A random BINARY_INTEGER value greater than or equal to -power(2,31) and less than power(2,31).

Usage notes

See the NORMAL function and the VALUE function.


SEED procedure

This procedure resets the seed used in generating a random number.

Syntax

DBMS_RANDOM.SEED (
   val  IN  BINARY_INTEGER);

DBMS_RANDOM.SEED (
   val  IN  VARCHAR2);

Parameters

Table 5-3 SEED procedure parameters

Parameter Description

val

Seed number or string used to generate a random number.


Usage notes

The seed can be a string up to length 2000.


STRING function

This function generates and returns a random string.

Syntax

DBMS_RANDOM.STRING
   opt  IN  CHAR,
   len  IN  NUMBER)
  RETURN VARCHAR2;

Parameters

Table 5-4 STRING function parameters

Parameter Description

opt

Specifies what the returning string looks like:

  • 'u', 'U' - returning string in uppercase alpha characters.

  • 'l', 'L' - returning string in lowercase alpha characters.

  • 'a', 'A' - returning string in mixed case alpha characters.

  • 'x', 'X' - returning string in uppercase alpha-numeric characters.

  • 'p', 'P' - returning string in any printable characters.

Otherwise the returning string is in uppercase alpha characters.

len

The length of the returned string.


Return value

A VARCHAR2 value with the random string.


TERMINATE procedure

This procedure is deprecated. Although currently supported, it should not be used. It would be called when the user is finished with the package.

Syntax

DBMS_RANDOM.TERMINATE;

VALUE function

One version returns a random number, greater than or equal to 0 and less than 1, with 38 digits to the right of the decimal (38-digit precision). The other version returns a random Oracle NUMBER value x, where x is greater than or equal to the specified low value and less than the specified high value.

Syntax

DBMS_RANDOM.VALUE
  RETURN NUMBER;

DBMS_RANDOM.VALUE(
  low  IN  NUMBER,
  high IN  NUMBER)
RETURN NUMBER;

Parameters

Table 5-5 VALUE function parameters

Parameter Description

low

Lower limit of the range in which to generate a random number. The number generated is greater than or equal to low.

high

Higher limit of the range in which to generate a random number. The number generated is less than high.


Return value

A NUMBER value that is the generated random number.