[rc5] The prize money....

Jeff Woods jeff at delta.com
Thu Oct 23 11:50:09 EDT 1997


Sorry, if this has been hashed to death -- if so, please just say so, and
end the thread (but it isn't in the FAQ).   

Adam and crew have done a remarkable job thus far.   It took only 250 days
to crack RC5-56.   Well done.

However, in RC5-64, there are a total of 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 keys to
examine.   If we maintain the rate we were working at at our PEAK (600
trillion keys a day), it will take 84 YEARS to crack it, assuming no
advances in CPU technology or growth in the user base of distributed.net.

Clearly, we need to do both:   Use advanced technology (recruit more
P-II's, etc), and to recruit MORE PEOPLE.    Its estimated that we had
25,000 machines or so at the time of the 56-bit find.    To have any
reasonable chance at 64-bit success in a decent time frame (under five
years), I think we need closer to half a million participants.   I do NOT
think that's out of the question.

Project Gutenberg is a worthy cause, and deserves the $8,000 that
distributed.net just donated to them.   However, to get a half million
users, the "carrot" has to be bigger than a mere thousand bucks.  I think
the charity has to end.   

I would like to suggest to the organizers that for the 64-bit crack, the
RSA reward (if earned by d.net users) go ENTIRELY to the key finder and to
distributed.net, either in an even split, or slightly weighted in favor of
the finder (70/30, perhaps).    If you dangle the prospect of $7,000 for
being the lucky one out there, I think you'll get far more participation.

Sure, many of us are participating in order to tell the government that
their encryption laws suck.   Others are participating to demonstrate the
superiority of certain hardware.   I think that a solid majority, though,
are in it for the money, and that the effort shouldn't care WHY someone
participates.   If appealing to the baser instincts of the general 'net
population will up our participation to the point where RC5-64 is feasible,
why the hell not?

Adam et al, please consider raising the amount of the prize money given to
key finders in future challenges, including RC5-64.


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