Scope

The rand_core library has the following scope:

  • the core traits which RNGs may implement
  • tools for implementing these traits

The rand library has the following scope:

  • re-export all parts of rand_core applicable to end users
  • an interface to request entropy from an external source
  • hooks to provide entropy from several platform-specific sources
  • traits covering common RNG functionality
  • some PRNGs, notably StdRng and SmallRng
  • thread_rng auto-seeding source of randomness
  • conversion of random bits to common types and uses
  • shuffling and sampling from sequences
  • sampling from various random number distributions

The rand_chacha, rand_hc, rand_isaac, rand_pcg and rand_xorshift libraries provide additional PRNGs. They are recommended over StdRng and SmallRng when reproducibility is needed.

New PRNG Algorithms

The Rand library includes several pseudo-random number generators, for the following reasons:

  • to implement the StdRng and SmallRng generators
  • to provide a strong, widely trusted CSPRNG (ChaCha)
  • historical usage

We have received several requests to adopt new algorithms into the library; when evaluating such requests we must consider several things:

  • whether the PRNG is cryptographically secure, and if so, how trustworthy such claims are
  • statistical quality of output
  • performance and features of the generator
  • scope of the project
  • reception and third-party review of the algorithm

New distributions

Currently the rand lib and statrs have significant overlap in that both libraries implement sampling for many of the same statistical distributions. Because of this, we are reluctant to accept new sampling algorithms in Rand itself. This issue is not yet resolved (see #290).