# Probability of getting same result from /dev/{u}random

What is the likelihood of getting the same result from /dev/random?

• Is it 1 in 10000^n where n is the length of bytes (or bits) pulled? Apr 5, 2022 at 16:30
• Bits have 2 options per bit, so you would expect 1 in $2^n$ if the output is well distributed (to match any specific n-bit value per extraction, previously generated or not). Generally you'd expect it to be well distributed, but in the end that's an implementation question. Apr 5, 2022 at 16:42
• "getting the same result" --> same as what? Apr 5, 2022 at 16:49
• @Mikero the same twice in a row. Apr 5, 2022 at 16:57

I'll read the question as: we draw two bitstrings $$S$$ and $$S'$$ each of $$b$$ bit(s) from /dev/{u}random, assumed an ideal random generator (which is it's aim). What's the probability that $$S$$ and $$S'$$ are identical, noted $$\Pr(S=S')$$ ?
Note: if $$b$$ is a multiple of $$8$$, $$S$$ and $$S'$$ can be thought as bytestrings each of $$b/8$$ bytes.
A simple way to solve this is to consider that $$S'$$ was chosen after $$S$$, and uniformly at random, independently of $$S$$, among the values $$S'$$ can get. Since $$S'$$ is $$b$$-bit, there are $$2^b$$ such values, and each has probability $$p=1/2^b=2^{-b}$$ to be chosen (since the sum of all probabilities must be $$1$$, and each of the $$2^b$$ values has the same probability). Since $$S$$ is $$b$$-bit, $$S$$ is one of these $$2^b$$ values. Therefore $$\Pr(S=S')\,=\,1/2^b\,=\,2^{-b}$$