Random interface

AbstractAlgebra makes use of the Julia Random interface for random generation.

In addition we make use of an experimental package RandomExtensions.jl for extending the random interface in Julia.

The latter is required because some of our types require more than one argument to specify how to randomise them.

The usual way of generating random values that Julia and these extensions provide would look as follows:

julia> using AbstractAlgebra

julia> using Random

julia> using RandomExtensions

julia> S, x = polynomial_ring(ZZ, "x")
(Univariate Polynomial Ring in x over Integers, x)

julia> rand(Random.GLOBAL_RNG, make(S, 1:3, -10:10))
-5*x + 4

This example generates a polynomial over the integers with degree in the range 1 to 3 and with coefficients in the range -10 to 10.

In addition we implement shortened versions for ease of use which don't require creating a make instance or passing in the standard RNG.

julia> using AbstractAlgebra

julia> S, x = polynomial_ring(ZZ, "x")
(Univariate Polynomial Ring in x over Integers, x)

julia> rand(S, 1:3, -10:10)
-5*x + 4

Because rings can be constructed over other rings in a tower, all of this is supported by defining RandomExtensions.make instances that break the various levels of the ring down into separate make instances.

For example, here is the implementation of make for polynomial rings such as the above:

function RandomExtensions.make(S::PolyRing, deg_range::AbstractUnitRange{Int}, vs...)
   R = base_ring(S)
   if length(vs) == 1 && elem_type(R) == Random.gentype(vs[1])
      Make(S, deg_range, vs[1]) # forward to default Make constructor
      Make(S, deg_range, make(R, vs...))

As you can see, it has two cases. The first is where this invocation of make is already at the bottom of the tower of rings, in which case it just forwards to the default Make constructor.

The second case expects that we are higher up in the tower of rings and that make needs to be broken up (recursively) into the part that deals with the ring level we are at and the level that deals with the base ring.

To help make we tell it the type of object we are hoping to randomly generate.

RandomExtensions.maketype(S::PolyRing, dr::AbstractUnitRange{Int}, _) = elem_type(S)

Finally we implement the actual random generation itself.

# define rand for make(S, deg_range, v)
function rand(rng::AbstractRNG, sp::SamplerTrivial{<:Make3{<:RingElement, <:PolyRing, <:AbstractUnitRange{Int}}})
   S, deg_range, v = sp[][1:end]
   R = base_ring(S)
   f = S()
   x = gen(S)
   # degree -1 is zero polynomial
   deg = rand(rng, deg_range)
   if deg == -1
      return f
   for i = 0:deg - 1
      f += rand(rng, v)*x^i
   # ensure leading coefficient is nonzero
   c = R()
   while iszero(c)
      c = rand(rng, v)
   f += c*x^deg
   return f

Note that when generating random elements of the base ring for example, one should use the random number generator rng that is passed in.

As mentioned above, we define a simplified random generator that saves the user having to create make instances.

rand(rng::AbstractRNG, S::PolyRing, deg_range::AbstractUnitRange{Int}, v...) =
   rand(rng, make(S, deg_range, v...))

rand(S::PolyRing, degs, v...) = rand(Random.GLOBAL_RNG, S, degs, v...)

To test whether a random generator is working properly, the test_rand function exists in the AbstractAlgebra test submodule in the file test/runtests.jl. For example, in AbstractAlgebra test code:

using Test

R, x = polynomial_ring(ZZ, "x")

test_rand(R, -1:10, -10:10)

In general, we try to use UnitRange's to specify how 'big' we want the random instance to be, e.g. the range of degrees a polynomial could take, the range random integers could lie in, etc. The objective is to make it easy for the user to control the 'size' of random values in test code.