# Exercise - Create a quantum random number generator

Completed

In this unit, you implement the second phase of your quantum random number generator: combining multiple random bits to form a larger random number. This phase builds on the random bit generator that you already created. You'll need to write some classical code for this phase.

Note

If you experience problems with the rendering of the formulas, hit the refresh button on your browser. This will reload the page and the formulas will render correctly.

## Combine multiple random bits to form a larger number

In the previous unit, you created a random bit generator that generates a random bit by putting a qubit into superposition and measuring it.

When you measure the qubit, you'll get a random bit, either 0 or 1, with equal 50% probability. The value of this bit is truly random, there's no way of knowing what you get after the measurement. But how can you use this behavior to generate larger random numbers?

Let's say you repeat the process four times, generating this sequence of binary digits:

$${0, 1, 1, 0}$$

If you concatenate, or combine, these bits into a bit string, you can form a larger number. In this example, the bit sequence ${0110}$ is equivalent to six in decimal.

$${0110_{\ binary} \equiv 6_{\ decimal}}$$

If you repeat this process many times, you can combine multiple bits to form any large number.

## Define the random number generator logic

Let's outline what the logic of a random number generator should be, provided the random bit generator built in the previous unit:

1. Define max as the maximum number you want to generate.
2. Define the number of random bits you need to generate by calculating how many bits, nBits, you need to express integers up to max.
3. Generate a random bit string that's nBits in length.
4. If the bit string represents a number greater than max, go back to step three.
5. Otherwise, the process is complete. Return the generated number as an integer.

As an example, let's set max to 12. That is, 12 is the largest number you want to get from the random number generator.

You need ${\lfloor ln(12) / ln(2) + 1 \rfloor}$, or 4 bits to represent a number between 0 and 12. (For brevity, we skip how to derive this equation.)

Let's say you generate the bit string ${1101_{\ binary}}$, which is equivalent to ${13_{\ decimal}}$. Because 13 is greater than 12, you repeat the process.

Next, you generate the bit string ${0110_{\ binary}}$, which is equivalent to ${6_{\ decimal}}$. Because 6 is less than 12, the process is complete.

The quantum random number generator returns the number 6.

## Create a complete random number generator

Here, you expand on the RandomNumberGenerator.qs file to build larger random numbers.

For the complete random number generator, you need to include three Q# libraries: Microsoft.Quantum.Math, Microsoft.Quantum.Intrinsic, and Microsoft.Quantum.Convert. Add the following open directives to RandomNumberGenerator.qs like this:

namespace QuantumRandomNumberGenerator {
open Microsoft.Quantum.Convert;
open Microsoft.Quantum.Intrinsic;
open Microsoft.Quantum.Math;

// The rest of the code goes here.

}


### Define the quantum random number operation

Here, you define the GenerateRandomNumberInRange operation. This operation repeatedly calls the GenerateRandomBit operation to build a string of bits.

Modify RandomNumberGenerator.qs like this:

namespace QuantumRandomNumberGenerator {
open Microsoft.Quantum.Convert;
open Microsoft.Quantum.Intrinsic;
open Microsoft.Quantum.Math;

/// Generates a random number between 0 and max.
operation GenerateRandomNumberInRange(max : Int) : Int {
// Determine the number of bits needed to represent max and store it
// in the nBits variable. Then generate nBits random bits which will
// represent the generated random number.
mutable bits = [];
let nBits = BitSizeI(max);
for idxBit in 1..nBits {
set bits += [GenerateRandomBit()];
}
let sample = ResultArrayAsInt(bits);

// Return random number if it is within the requested range.
// Generate it again if it is outside the range.
return sample > max ? GenerateRandomNumberInRange(max) | sample;
}
}


Let's take a moment to review the new code.

• You need to calculate the number of bits needed to express integers up to max. The BitSizeI function from the Microsoft.Quantum.Math library converts an integer to the number of bits needed to represent it.
• The GenerateRandomNumberInRange operation uses a for loop to generate random numbers until it generates one that's equal to or less than max. The for loop works exactly the same as a for loop in other programming languages.
• The variable bits is a mutable variable. A mutable variable is one that can change during the computation. You use the set directive to change a mutable variable's value.
• The ResultArrayAsInt function comes from the Microsoft.Quantum.Convert library. This function converts the bit string to a positive integer.

### Define the entry point

Your program can now generate random numbers. Here, you define the entry point for your program.

Modify RandomNumberGenerator.qs file like this:

namespace QuantumRandomNumberGenerator {
open Microsoft.Quantum.Convert;
open Microsoft.Quantum.Intrinsic;
open Microsoft.Quantum.Math;

@EntryPoint()
operation Main() : Int {
let max = 100;
Message(\$"Sampling a random number between 0 and {max}: ");

// Generate random number in the 0..max range.
return GenerateRandomNumberInRange(max);
}

/// Generates a random number between 0 and max.
operation GenerateRandomNumberInRange(max : Int) : Int {
// Determine the number of bits needed to represent max and store it
// in the nBits variable. Then generate nBits random bits which will
// represent the generated random number.
mutable bits = [];
let nBits = BitSizeI(max);
for idxBit in 1..nBits {
set bits += [GenerateRandomBit()];
}
let sample = ResultArrayAsInt(bits);

// Return random number if it is within the requested range.
// Generate it again if it is outside the range.
return sample > max ? GenerateRandomNumberInRange(max) | sample;
}

operation GenerateRandomBit() : Result {
// Allocate a qubit.
use q = Qubit();

// Set the qubit into superposition of 0 and 1 using the Hadamard operation
H(q);

// At this point the qubit q has 50% chance of being measured in the
// |0〉 state and 50% chance of being measured in the |1〉 state.
// Measure the qubit value using the M operation, and store the
// measurement value in the result variable.
let result = M(q);

// Reset qubit to the |0〉 state.
// Qubits must be in the |0〉 state by the time they are released.
Reset(q);

// Return the result of the measurement.
return result;
}
}


The let directive declares variables that don't change during the computation. For learning purposes, here we define the maximum value as 100.

## Run the program

Let's try out our new random number generator!

1. Before running the program, you need to set the target profile to Unrestricted. Select View > Command Palette, search for QIR, select Q#: Set the Azure Quantum QIR target profile, and then select Q#: unrestricted.
2. To run your program, select Run from the list of commands below @EntryPoint(), or press Ctrl+F5. Your output will appear in the debug console.
3. Run the program again to see a different result.

Note

If the target profile is not set to Unrestricted, you will get an error when you run the program.

Congratulations! Now you know how to combine classical logic with Q# to create a quantum random number generator.

## Bonus exercise

Try to modify the program to also require the generated random number to be greater than some minimum number, min, instead of zero.