A pseudorandom number generator (PRNG) is an algorithm for generating a sequence of numbers whose properties approximate the properties of sequences of random numbers.

A PRNG-generated sequence is not truly random, because it is completely determined by an initial value, called the PRNG's seed (which may include truly random values). Although sequences that are closer to truly random can be generated using hardware random number generators, pseudorandom number generators are important in practice for their speed in number generation and their reproducibility.

A PRNG suitable for cryptographic applications is called a cryptographically secure PRNG (CSPRNG). A requirement for a CSPRNG is that an adversary not knowing the seed has only negligible advantage in distinguishing the generator's output sequence from a random sequence.