# Expand a random range from 1–5 to 1–7

algorithmpuzzlerandom

Given a function which produces a random integer in the range 1 to 5, write a function which produces a random integer in the range 1 to 7.

1. What is a simple solution?
2. What is an effective solution to reduce memory usage or run on a slower CPU?

#### Best Solution

This is equivalent to Adam Rosenfield's solution, but may be a bit more clear for some readers. It assumes rand5() is a function that returns a statistically random integer in the range 1 through 5 inclusive.

``````int rand7()
{
int vals = {
{ 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 },
{ 6, 7, 1, 2, 3 },
{ 4, 5, 6, 7, 1 },
{ 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 },
{ 7, 0, 0, 0, 0 }
};

int result = 0;
while (result == 0)
{
int i = rand5();
int j = rand5();
result = vals[i-1][j-1];
}
return result;
}
``````

How does it work? Think of it like this: imagine printing out this double-dimension array on paper, tacking it up to a dart board and randomly throwing darts at it. If you hit a non-zero value, it's a statistically random value between 1 and 7, since there are an equal number of non-zero values to choose from. If you hit a zero, just keep throwing the dart until you hit a non-zero. That's what this code is doing: the i and j indexes randomly select a location on the dart board, and if we don't get a good result, we keep throwing darts.

Like Adam said, this can run forever in the worst case, but statistically the worst case never happens. :)