[RC5] After RC5-64?

Jon Nathan jon at blading.com
Sat Sep 11 14:24:27 EDT 1999

It seems to me that the current ECDL effort meets your specifications.
It's not, as someone said before, an ad-hoc project - it's a major
mathematical/cryptographic project that's been going on for some time now.
The project is on its sixth incarnation.

More info at http://pauillac.inria.fr/~harley/ecdl6/

How does it meet your specs?  

1.  It's computationally (floating-point) intensive.
2.  You're trying to find individual distinguished points along a curve,
similar to testing individual keys (or blocks thereof) in a keyspace.  It
uses a true parallel algorithm.
3.  The communication (at least as currently implemented) is limited to
occasional emails of ~800 bytes.
4.  Useful purpose?  It is trying to establish the security of a
high-grade cryptographic system, similar to the rc5 effort.  The project
is currently attacking a 97-bit key, and will probably take about 2 months
to solve it.  Certicom considers this a "warmup" for 109, 131, 163,
191, 239, and 359-bit challenges.

Also see http://www.certicom.ca/chal/

Jon Nathan
jon at blading.com

> As I see it the ideal projects are those that have a heavy
> computational component, split naturally into smaller parallel
> problems, don't need billions of large files to be transported between
> machines and serve a useful purpose. Personally I prefer a project that
> can be shown to be complete, ie., there is an answer to the question
> posed if enough effort has been made (this is where SETI fails for me).
> Regards
> Gavan Schneider

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