[RC5] Cosm and distributed.net

Adam L. Beberg beberg at mithral.com
Fri Apr 23 00:11:46 EDT 1999

"distributed.net was founded to serve as a gathering point for research and 
projects related to distributed processing. To build up a network of 
computers over the Internet all coordinating on various tasks, with each 
computer working on the project it's best suited to." - me, distributed.net 
mission statement, May 1997

Basically, distributed.net was founded to build a system to enable a huge 
global pool of processing power that all might draw on and contribute to. 
Where all kinds of research and work may be done orders of magnitude faster 
then by any person or organization alone.

Over time distributed.net grew, and eventually prize money and expenses were 
involved, so distributed.net became the non-profit organization Distributed 
Computing Technologies Inc (DCTI). As a part of that process a board of 
directors was formed to decide where DCTI would go next. Over time more 
people got involved, and DCTI grew and is still growing.

Over the last 2 years much has been accomplished in the world of 
distributed.net. We have solved RC5-56, two DES contests, and made it more 
then 7% into the RC5-64 keyspace. All striking a blow to the government's 
ridiculous laws about the export of cryptographic technology. The RSA 
sponsored contests were where we started, but were never intended to last 
forever. OGR is coming soon, and maybe another cryptographic contest.

Additionally, distributed.net has done very well at getting the idea of 
distributed computing out into the public view. This is something of which 
we can all be very happy about.

As any organization changes as it grows, so has disributed.net. As a result, 
it has become apparent that the goals of DCTI have changed considerably over 
the years, and are no longer the same as what they were.
During much of the last two years I have been working on Cosm (which you may 
know as 'v3'). Cosm design began years before distributed.net in my days at 
IIT.edu. My goal is and always has been to build a system that served to 
explore and push the envelope distributed computing. It was my intention to 
realize the design as part of DCTI. Unfortunately, this is no longer the 
direction DCTI wants to head. Cosm no longer fits in with the goals that 
DCTI has for its future.

So the DCTI board has decided that it would be best for DCTI if Cosm and the 
related technology and people go our separate way. And so, as of today, Cosm 
and myself are no longer associated with DCTI.

While this wasn't the original plan, it does provide for Cosm to proceed 
unencumbered and in a more direct manner to the eventual goal.

Cosm phase 1 has been well underway for quite some time, as you can see from 
the Cosm web site at http://www.mithral.com/~beberg/cosm/. The design is all 
ready to go, and several chapters of the documentation are well under way. 
It is rapidly approaching the point where source development will go public 
(the goal is May 1st). The next step is to finish off some more 
documentation, the license, and a few more headers. The only thing holding 
up progress at this point is the speed at which everything can be 

Cosm development will be basically unaffected by the split with DCTI. 
Progress will continue, and if all goes well, we'll have a working system 
out a few months from now.

I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to distributed.net over 
the last 2 years. And I wish them the best of luck on whatever course they 
decide to take.

- Adam L. Beberg
  April 22, 1999
  beberg at mithral.com

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