# Random number generator/Linear feedback shift register (advanced)

Further commentary on the linear feedback shift register example at random number generator.

These are excerpted from the following source on github: prng_6502

## Contents

## Basic version

prng: ldy #8 ; iteration count lda seed+0 : asl ; shift the register rol seed+1 bcc :+ eor #$39 ; apply XOR feedback whenever a 1 bit is shifted out : dey bne :-- sta seed+0 cmp #0 ; reload flags rts

## Sacrifice entropy for speed

The iteration count stored in Y can be reduced to speed up the generator, at the expense of quality of randomness. Each iteration effectively generators one more bit of entropy, so 8 iterations are needed for an 8-bit random number. If you intend to use fewer bits of the result (e.g. use AND to mask the result), or if you are satisfied with less randomness, you can reduce Y, or even parameterize it:

; Y as a parameter specifies number of random bits to generate (1 to 8) prng: lda seed+0 @bitloop: asl rol seed+1 bcc :+ eor #$39 : dey bne @bitloop sta seed+0 cmp #0 rts

Alternatively this loop could be unrolled with 8 entry points, saving the need to use Y or load it as a parameter.

## Simple 24 and 32 bit LFSR

By adding an extra byte or two to the seed variable, and choosing an appropriate polynomial to XOR with, we can extend the sequence length significantly with only one additonal ROL per byte (+40 cycles).

This 24-bit version has a sequence length of 16777215: 21 bytes, 173-181 cycles.

.zeropage seed: .res 3 ; 24-bit .code prng: ldy #8 lda seed+0 : asl rol seed+1 rol seed+2 bcc :+ eor #$1B : dey bne :-- sta seed+0 cmp #0 rts

This 32-bit version has a sequence length of 4294967295: 23 bytes, 213-221 cycles.

.zeropage seed: .res 4 ; 32-bit .code prng: ldy #8 lda seed+0 : asl rol seed+1 rol seed+2 rol seed+3 bcc :+ eor #$C5 : dey bne :-- sta seed+0 cmp #0 rts

Even longer sequences are possible, but it's not likely to be practical, as it would already take approximately 7 days for an NTSC NES to complete this 32 bit LFSR cycle.

## Overlapped 24 and 32 bit LFSR

With an XOR-feedback that contains only four bits, we can shift and feed back 8 bits at once in a more complex overlapped operation that essentially applies 4 16-bit XOR operations to the lower two bytes of the seed. (One XOR for each feedback bit.) With some careful rearrangement this can do 8 iterations at once very efficiently.

24-bit overlapped: 38 bytes, 73 cycles.

prng: ; rotate the middle byte left ldy seed+1 ; will move to seed+2 at the end ; compute seed+1 ($1B>>1 = %1101) lda seed+2 lsr lsr lsr lsr sta seed+1 ; reverse: %1011 lsr lsr eor seed+1 lsr eor seed+1 eor seed+0 sta seed+1 ; compute seed+0 ($1B = %00011011) lda seed+2 asl eor seed+2 asl asl eor seed+2 asl eor seed+2 sty seed+2 ; finish rotating byte 1 into 2 sta seed+0 rts

32-bit overlapped: 44 bytes, 83 cycles.

prng: ; rotate the middle bytes left ldy seed+2 ; will move to seed+3 at the end lda seed+1 sta seed+2 ; compute seed+1 ($C5>>1 = %1100010) lda seed+3 ; original high byte lsr sta seed+1 ; reverse: 100011 lsr lsr lsr lsr eor seed+1 lsr eor seed+1 eor seed+0 ; combine with original low byte sta seed+1 ; compute seed+0 ($C5 = %11000101) lda seed+3 ; original high byte asl eor seed+3 asl asl asl asl eor seed+3 asl asl eor seed+3 sty seed+3 ; finish rotating byte 2 into 3 sta seed+0 rts

A note about the chosen polynomials: several XOR-feedback values are available that will produce a maximal-length LFSR period^{[1]}. $39, $2D, and $C5 are chosen because they contain the minimum number of bits, in a compact arrangement that allows a fast overlapped computation.

## References

- 32-bit LFSR PRNG by jroatch

## Additional Resource

- http://users.ece.cmu.edu/~koopman/lfsr/index.html - a source for maximal polynomials for LFSRs of many lengths.