[RC5] Proposal of organization of effort to win prime number contest

Jeff Woods jeff at telix.com
Thu Apr 8 10:20:31 EDT 1999

Frank, there is one problem with your proposal...  It is something I didn't
understand when I first came to d.net and I also was replied to with a
message similar to this one.   

d.net is not about the money.   It never was, at least for a vast majority
of the people that participate.  That's why the effort givces 80% of the
prize money to charity in the encryption contests we've participated in.

d.net *is* about doing really cool things with distributed computing.
Most people are here for that purpose.   Those that are here for the
MONEY.... well, the problem with your proposal is that it won't do us any
good.  There's already another effort underway to find such a prime, and it
already has 9,000 participants, and likely more machines than that.   In
that effort, which is also already automated and includes most elements of
your proposal, the participant that finds the key also gets 100% (yes, ALL)
of the money.

Anyone who is in it just for the money is going to bail out to go to that
other effort.   Anything you set up here that isn't 100% finders-keepers
isn't going to keep those participants from jumping ship to the other
effort.   And d.net isn't bloody likely to change its focus from the joy of
the effort to cold hard dollars, or to change the 80% charitable gift focus.

If you want the money, go join GIMPS.   (I did shift a couple of machines
over to GIMPS, because I'm in it for both reasons -- money, and geek-cool).
  If you want to be a part of the fastest computer around, and to do really
cool things with encryption and distributed computing, and help out some
worthy causes when we succeed in an effort, choose d.net.

I see no reason to duplicate the efforts of GIMPS here on d.net, at least
not without the v3 engine.  Once v3 is fully operational, ANYONE should be
able to code an engine for Mersenne (or Proth) prime searches, link them
into the proxies, and participants can choose.   Until v3 is ready, though,
I think there are better places for d.net to hunt.

At 11:06 PM 4/7/99 -0700, you wrote:
>Proposal of organization of effort to win prime number contest
>Given that we can determine:
>    * Who else is working on this and what their resources are,
>    * What kind of resources (machines) we would need to have 
>       an appealing probability of winning the prize,
>What about setting up a coop program like this:
>    * organization of attempt at prize (i.e. administration of 
>       all aspects, with groups or individuals responsible for 
>       different administrative tasks or activities,) including:
>        - creation of client software,
>        - creation of server software,
>        - administration of oversight accounting (investment of 
>          money, collection of contributions to effort, keeping of 
>          data on people and machines involved in effort, and etc?)
>    * coop program would accept membership in effort, which 
>       would include:
>        - machines participating in effort, and level of machine 
>          machine devotion to effort (not that this would be a 
>          fixed level, but just informative,)
>        - means of measuring amount of work done on effort 
>          and submitting this to core server(s) for record keeping 
>          of how much work was being done by all the machines 
>          belonging to each member (individual or organization,)
>        - accounting of money contribution by each member 
>          towards effort,
>        - money contributions accepted from members which 
>          would go towards necessary expenses (which would 
>          be kept at a minimum,) and towards advertising to 
>          attract membership,
>        - any leftover money would be returned to members 
>          having contributed the money in a manner which would 
>          keep the percentage contributed by each member the 
>          same as if all the money had been used,
>    * prize, if won, would be distributed as follows:
>        - a percentage or fixed amount would go to d.net,
>        - the remaining amount would be distributed to all 
>          members on the basis of:
>            + machine work done,
>            + money contributed to effort,
>            + percentage of prize distribution go be gained 
>              by each member on the basis of the above two 
>              items would be predetermined.
>    * web pages made available, and perhaps email sent 
>       to members on a periodic basis (weekly perhaps) 
>       that would give a current accounting of effort, 
>       including current members and their machines 
>       devoted to the effort, and the money contributed 
>       by each member to date, and the status of the 
>       effort.
>    * a determination of the optimal level of membership 
>       and resources best devoted to the effort, measured 
>       on the basis of:
>       - current level of outside competition for prize,
>       - dilution of winnings by the number of member 
>         count and resources (money for advertising and 
>         administration.)
>        - some decided means of determining this optimum 
>          level of effort. Members would decide (perhaps 
>          vote) on the following:
>            + how diluted the efforts probability of winning 
>              was becoming as a result of outside efforts,
>            + how diluted the potential winnings were becoming 
>              due to level of member machines and money 
>              contributions (calculated on the basis of money 
>              being used, not just contributed so that a member 
>              would not be able to buy such a level of potential 
>              winnings that it would excessively dilute the 
>              winnings potential of other members.)
>    The goal of this organization would be to maximize the 
>probability of winning the prize, and allow a measured level 
>of contribution by a controlled level of members and member 
>contribution of resources (controlled by existing members,) 
>so that existing members would experience an acceptable 
>balance of probability of winnings and potential winnings 
>percentage and level of devoted resources (money and 
>    The first step would be to accept initial membership 
>towards effort (all existing members of d.net would be 
>included.) Members of d.net would indicate interest in 
>joining effort to win contest prize. A time period would 
>be set to allow all existing d.net members to become 
>members of group being formed to win contest prize.
>After this time period new members would be 
>accepted for set time periods as existing members 
>determined new optimal levels of member resources 
>were desired. This changing level of desired member 
>resources (initial appeal would be made to existing 
>members to contribute more money and machines 
>before soliciting or allowing new membership,) would 
>be determined on the basis of perceived outside 
>efforts being made to win prize.
>    Finally, we would have to initially determine what 
>level of effort would be worthwhile to existing 
>members interested in joining effort to win prize. 
>What level of effort in general, which would guide 
>the level of organization and resources put into effort 
>from the outset. Some members may be more interested 
>in participating in the bootstrap effort required to 
>initially organize and analyze such an effort. These 
>bootstrap members would have the option of becoming 
>a part of the administrative and productivity groups 
>(programmers, web site administrators and programmers,) 
>which would be a part of the effort.
> Frank D. Wills
> SoftEvolve Corporation
> P. O. Box 7028
> Bellevue, WA 98008
> (425) 861-8228
> fdwills at softevolve.com
> www.softevolve.com
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