Peter Occil

Notes on Jumping PRNGs Ahead

Peter Occil

Some pseudorandom number generators (PRNGs) have an efficient way to advance their state as though a huge number of PRNG outputs were discarded. Notes on how they work are described in the following sections.

F2-linear PRNGs

For some PRNGs, each bit of the PRNG’s state can be described as a linear recurrence on its entire state. These PRNGs are called F2-linear PRNGs, and they include the following:

For an F2-linear PRNG, there is an efficient way to discard a given (and arbitrary) number of its outputs (to “jump the PRNG ahead”). This jump-ahead strategy is further described in (Haramoto et al., 2008)1. See also (Vigna 2017)2. To calculate the jump-ahead parameters needed to advance the PRNG N steps:

  1. Build M, an S×S matrix of zeros and ones that describes the linear transformation of the PRNG’s state, where S is the size of that state in bits. For an example, see sections 3.1 and 3.2 of (Blackman and Vigna 2019)3, where it should be noted that the additions inside the matrix are actually XORs.
  2. Find the characteristic polynomial of M. This has to be done in the two-element field F2, so that each coefficient of the polynomial is either 0 or 1.

    For example, SymPy’s charpoly() method alone is inadequate for this purpose, since it doesn’t operate on the correct field. However, it’s easy to adapt that method’s output for the field F2: even coefficients become zeros and odd coefficients become ones.

    Note that for a linear feedback shift register (LFSR) generator, the characteristic polynomial’s coefficients are 1 for each of its “taps” (and “tap” 0), and 0 elsewhere. For example, an LFSR generator with taps 6 and 8 has the characteristic polynomial x8 + x6 + 1.

    The section “Jump Parameters for Some PRNGs” shows characteristic polynomials for some PRNGs and one way their coefficients can be represented.

  3. Calculate powmodf2(2, N, CP), where powmodf2 is a modular power function that calculates 2^N mod CP in the field F2, and CP is the characteristic polynomial. (N is the number of PRNG outputs to discard.) Regular modular power functions, such as BigInteger’s modPow method, won’t work here, even if the polynomial is represented in the manner described in “Jump Parameters for Some PRNGs”.
  4. The result is a jump polynomial for jumping the PRNG ahead N steps, that is, for discarding N outputs of the PRNG.

    An example of its use is found in the jump and long_jump functions in the xoroshiro128plus source code, which are identical except for the jump polynomial. In both functions, the jump polynomial’s coefficients are packed into a 128-bit integer (as described in “Jump Parameters for Some PRNGs”), which is then split into the lower 64 bits and the upper 64 bits, in that order.

Counter-Based PRNGs

Counter-based PRNGs, in which their state is updated simply by incrementing a counter, can be trivially jumped ahead just by changing the seed, the counter, or both (Salmon et al. 2011)4.

Multiple Recursive Generators

A multiple recursive generator (MRG) generates numbers by transforming its state using the following formula: x(k) = (x(k-1)*A(1) + x(k-2)*A(2) + ... + x(k-n)*A(n)) mod modulus, where A(i) are the multipliers and modulus is the modulus.

For an MRG, the following matrix (M) describes the state transition [x(k-n), ..., x(k-1)] to [x(k-n+1), ..., x(k)] (mod modulus):

 | 0   1   0  ...  0  |
 | 0   0   1  ...  0  |
 | .   .   .  ... ... |
 | 0   0   0  ...  1  |
 |A(n)A(n A(n ... A(1)|
 |     -1) -2)        |

To calculate the parameter needed to jump the MRG ahead N steps, calculate MN mod modulus; the result is a jump matrix J.

Then, to jump the MRG ahead N steps, calculate J * S mod modulus, where J is the jump matrix and S is the state in the form of a column vector; the result is a new state for the MRG.

This technique was mentioned (but for binary matrices) in Haramoto, in sections 1 and 3.1. They point out, though, that it isn’t efficient if the transition matrix is large. See also (L’Ecuyer et al., 2002)5.


A multiple recursive generator with a modulus of 1449 has the following transition matrix:

|  0   1   0  |
|  0   0   1  |
| 444 342 499 |

To calculate the 3×3 jump matrix to jump 100 steps from this MRG, raise this matrix to the power of 100 then take the result’s elements mod 1449. One way to do this is the “square-and-multiply” method, described by D. Knuth in The Art of Computer Programming: Set J to the identity matrix, N to 100, and M to a copy of the transition matrix, then while N is greater than 0:

  1. If N is odd6, multiply J by M then take J’s elements mod 1449.
  2. Divide N by 2 and round down, then multiply M by M then take M’s elements mod 1449.

The resulting J is a jump matrix as follows:

| 156   93  1240 |
| 1389 1128  130 |
| 1209  930  793 |

Transforming the MRG’s state with J (and taking its elements mod 1449) will transform the state as though 100 outputs were discarded from the MRG.

Linear Congruential Generators

A linear congruential generator (LCG) generates numbers by transforming its state using the following formula: x(k) = (x(k-1)*a + c) mod modulus, where a is the multiplier, c is the additive constant, and modulus is the modulus.

An efficient way to jump an LCG ahead is described in (Brown 1994)7. This also applies to LCGs that transform each x(k) before outputting it, such as M.O’Neill’s PCG32 and PCG64.

An MRG with only one multiplier expresses the special case of an LCG with c = 0 (also known as a multiplicative LCG). For c other than 0, the following matrix describes the state transition [x(k-1), 1] to [x(k), 1] (mod modulus):

 | a   c |
 | 0   1 |

Jumping the LCG ahead can then be done using this matrix as described in the previous section.

Multiply-with-Carry, Add-with-Carry, Subtract-with-Borrow

There are implementations for jumping a multiply-with-carry (MWC) PRNG ahead, but only in source-code form. I am not aware of an article or paper that describes how jumping an MWC PRNG ahead works.

I am not aware of any efficient ways to jump an add-with-carry or subtract-with-borrow PRNG ahead an arbitrary number of steps.

Combined PRNGs

A combined PRNG can be jumped ahead N steps by jumping each of its components ahead N steps.

Jump Parameters for Some PRNGs

The following table shows the characteristic polynomial and jump polynomials for some PRNG families. In the table:


PRNG Characteristic Polynomial Jump Polynomials
xoroshiro64 0x1053be9da6e2286c1 232: 0x4cbf99bd77fcd1a0
248: 0xb4e7e4633f1f8b95
“Period”/φ: 0x751f355609af0e3b
xoshiro128 0x100fc65a2006254b11b489db6de18fc01 232: 0xf8aed94730b948df3be07b8f7afe108
248: 0xdeaa4ca2dec5bb9a87a4583dcb56667c
264: 0x77f2db5b6fa035c3f542d2d38764000b
296: 0x1c580662ccf5a0ef0b6f099fb523952e
“Period”/φ: 0x338b58d0590169928fda8fd5d1cf96b6
xoroshiro128 (except ++) 0x10008828e513b43d5095b8f76579aa001 232: 0xd4e95eef9edbdbc6fad843622b252c78
248: 0x9b19ba6b3752065ad769cfc9028deb78
264: 0x170865df4b3201fcdf900294d8f554a5
296: 0xdddf9b1090aa7ac1d2a98b26625eee7b
“Period”/φ: 0xc1c620fd7bf598c34a2828365a7df3e0
xoroshiro128++ 0x10031bcf2f855d6e58dae70779760b081 232: 0x2e1bcf52f1051044fcceec21d5c306d9
248: 0xc8462a08ab3d7f9b99030a888c867939
264: 0x992ccaf6a6fca052bd7a6a6e99c2ddc
296: 0x9c6e6877736c46e3360fd5f2cf8d5d99
“Period”/φ: 0x1b4c7a8989405b16d3e4e127a6a11513
xoshiro256 0x10003c03c3f3ecb1904b4edcf26259f85­0280002bcefd1a5e9d116f2bb0f0f001 232: 0xe055d3520fdb9d7214fafc0fbdbc2087d8d0632bd08e6ac58120d583c112f69
248: 0x5f728be2c97e9066474579292f705634f825539dee5e4763f11fb4faea62c7f1
264: 0x12e4a2fbfc19bff934faff184785c20ab60d6c5b8c78f106b13c16e8096f0754
296: 0x31eebb6c82a9615fb27c05962ea56a13cdb45d7def42c317148c356c3114b7a9
2128: 0x39abdc4529b1661ca9582618e03fc9aad5a61266f0c9392c180ec6d33cfd0aba
2160: 0xf567382197055bf04823b45b89dc689c69e6e6e431a2d40bc04b4f9c5d26c200
2192: 0x39109bb02acbe63577710069854ee241c5004e441c522fb376e15d3efefdcbbf
2224: 0xa2b5d83a373c7ac2f31d2e03157bc387d317530723ab526a0c7840cbc3b121ad
“Period”/φ: 0x294e2bac089b06c7d4ce5d1a031b6cf8787f49127b37f506ac1c9e5f5f53046c


Sebastiano Vigna reviewed this page and gave comments.


  1. Haramoto, Matsumoto, Nishimura, Panneton, L’Ecuyer, “Efficient Jump Ahead for F2-Linear Random Number Generators”, INFORMS Journal on Computing 20(3), Summer 2008. 

  2. Vigna, S., “Further scramblings of Marsaglia’s xorshift generators”, Journal of Computational and Applied Mathematics 315 (2017). 

  3. Blackman, Vigna, “Scrambled Linear Pseudorandom Number Generators”, 2019. 

  4. Salmon, John K., Mark A. Moraes, Ron O. Dror, and David E. Shaw. “Parallel random numbers: as easy as 1, 2, 3.” In Proceedings of 2011 International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis, pp. 1-12. 2011. 

  5. L’Ecuyer, Simard, Chen, Kelton, “An Object-Oriented Random-Number Package with Many Long Streams and Substreams”, Operations Research 50(6), 2002. 

  6. x is odd” means that x is an integer and not divisible by 2. This is true if x − 2*floor(x/2) equals 1, or if x is an integer and the least significant bit of abs(x) is 1. 

  7. Brown, F., “Random Number Generation with Arbitrary Strides”, Transactions of the American Nuclear Society Nov. 1994.