# JavaScript:

**Generating random numbers**

## How to:

### Basic Random Number Generation

The most straightforward way to generate a random number in JavaScript is to use `Math.random()`

. This function returns a floating-point, pseudo-random number in the range 0 (inclusive) to 1 (exclusive).

```
let randomNumber = Math.random();
console.log(randomNumber);
```

### Generating a Random Number Within a Range

Often, you’ll want a random integer within a specific range. This can be achieved by scaling and rounding the output of `Math.random()`

.

```
function getRandomInt(min, max) {
min = Math.ceil(min);
max = Math.floor(max);
return Math.floor(Math.random() * (max - min + 1)) + min;
}
console.log(getRandomInt(1, 100));
```

### Cryptographically Secure Random Numbers

For applications requiring a higher degree of randomness (e.g., cryptographic operations), the `crypto.getRandomValues()`

method can be used. This provides cryptographic randomness, unlike the pseudo-random numbers generated by `Math.random()`

.

```
(function generateSecureRandom() {
let array = new Uint32Array(1);
window.crypto.getRandomValues(array);
console.log(array[0]);
})();
```

## Deep Dive

Historically, random number generation in JavaScript was solely reliant on the `Math.random()`

function. While convenient for most casual use cases, its algorithm, typically a variant of a pseudorandom number generator (PRNG) like Mersenne Twister, does not provide cryptographic security.

The introduction of the Web Cryptography API brought the `crypto.getRandomValues()`

method, offering a way to generate numbers that are far less predictable and suitable for security-sensitive applications. This method taps into the underlying operating system’s randomness sources, such as `/dev/random`

on Unix/Linux, which are more robust and suitable for cryptographic operations.

It’s crucial to choose the right method for the task at hand. `Math.random()`

suffices for basic needs like simple games, animations, or any case where the quality of randomness is not critical. However, for security features, like password reset tokens or any cryptographic operations, `crypto.getRandomValues()`

is the better choice owing to its superior randomness quality.

Notably, `Math.random()`

generates numbers with a known bias in most implementations, meaning some numbers are more likely to occur than others. Even though this bias is minimal and often imperceptible for general applications, it disqualifies `Math.random()`

from being used in any cryptographic context or applications where fairness is critical, such as online gambling.

In conclusion, while JavaScript’s built-in functions for generating random numbers cover a broad range of needs, understanding the differences and limitations of each method is essential for their appropriate application.