uuid.gen {dplR}R Documentation

UUID Generator


Initializes and returns a generator of universally unique identifiers. Use the returned function repeatedly for creating one or more UUIDs, one per function call.


uuid.gen(more.state = "")



A character string for altering the state of the generator


This function returns a function (closure) which generates UUIDs. The state of that anonymous function is set when uuid.gen is called. The state consists of the following:

The Pseudo Random Number Generator of R (see .Random.seed) is used in the generation of UUIDs. No initialization of the PRNG is done. Tampering with the state of the R PRNG while using a given UUID generator causes a risk of non-unique identifiers. Particularly, setting the state of the PRNG to the same value before two calls to the UUID generator guarantees two identical identifiers. If two UUID generators have a different state, it is not a problem to have the PRNG going through or starting from the same state with both generators.

The user is responsible for selecting a PRNG with a reasonable number of randomness. Usually, this doesn’t require any action. For example, any PRNG algorithm available in R works fine. However, the uniqueness of UUIDs can be destroyed by using a bad user-supplied PRNG.

The UUIDs produced by uuid.gen generators are Version 4 (random) with 122 random bits and 6 fixed bits. The UUID is presented as a character string of 32 hexadecimal digits and 4 hyphens:


where x is any hexadecimal digit and y is one of "8", "9", "a", or "b". Each x and y in the example is an independent variables (for all practical purposes); subscripts are omitted for clarity. The UUID generator gets 32 hex digits from the MD5 message digest algorithm by feeding it a string consisting of the constant generator state and 5 (pseudo) random numbers. After that, the 6 bits are fixed and the hyphens are added to form the final UUID.


A parameterless function which returns a single UUID (character string)


Mikko Korpela


Leach, P., Mealling, M., and Salz, R. (2005) A Universally Unique IDentifier (UUID) URN namespace. RFC 4122, RFC Editor. https://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc4122.txt.

See Also

digest, Random


## Normal use
ug <- uuid.gen()
uuids <- character(100)
for(i in 1:100){
  uuids[i] <- ug()
length(unique(uuids)) == 100 # TRUE, UUIDs are unique with high probability

## Do NOT do the following unless you want non-unique IDs
rs <- .Random.seed
id1 <- ug()
id2 <- ug()
id1 != id2 # FALSE, The UUIDs are the same
.Random.seed <- rs

## Strange usage pattern, but will probably produce unique IDs
ug1 <- uuid.gen("1")
id1 <- ug1()
ug2 <- uuid.gen("2")
id2 <- ug2()
id1 != id2 # TRUE, The UUIDs are different with high probability
.Random.seed <- rs

[Package dplR version 1.7.6 Index]