[RC5] DNet questions (repost)

Fabian Fagerholm fabbe at paniq.net
Fri Oct 4 13:22:10 EDT 2002


On Fri, 2002-10-04 at 11:02, Richard Menedetter wrote:
> Hi
> 
> I repost this, because there has no absolutely no answer to none of my 2 main
> questions.
> And IMHO these are extremely important ones.
> I would be really glad if somebody would take 2 minutes time, and answer them.

Perhaps there is no time.

Almost two years ago, the following announcement was made:
http://www.distributed.net/pressroom/news-20001127.html

Since then, d.net has been running only long-running computations
(long-running in comparison to the DES and CSC projects) that don't
require fast reactions from the maintaining team. It's like moving from
a 100 meter sprinter race to a round-the-world marathon. Only very
committed people will have the patience to follow the progress and keep
up the excitement.

There was a slashnet forum with some d.net people shortly after the
announcement that RC5-64 had been finished:
http://www.slashnet.org/forums/DCTI-20020928.html
Judging by that, it seems that d.net will just go on to another even
longer-running project, RC5-72. This project does have the advantage of
providing some money to continue running d.net, but other than that,
there really isn't going to be any useful output from it. It has already
been proven that strong encryption is needed and that any encryption of
this kind is only safe for a certain amount of time.

The (unconfirmed) issue that all OGR calculations performed during the
last couple of years would be useless is disappointing, but hardly
surprising. OGR is a convenient fall-back project since it is infinite
-- you can always add one to the ruler length and burn cycles for a
couple more years. I suspect this is one of the reasons it was chosen --
d.net could then run more or less unattended while people do something
else.


In my opinion, d.net should explore other areas where problems can be
solved by distributed computing. Since d.net is a non-profit
organisation, I think it would be appropriate to do computations in
areas that can benefit more people, and in more important ways, than
encryption-related calculations. Medical applications come to mind, for
example protein folding, cancer research, HIV research or DNA
sequencing.

For instance, I read today in the local paper that the genome of the
malaria mosquito had been mapped -- perhaps advancing the creation of a
cure for malaria.

D.net is already collaborating with United Devices, who are already
working on a cancer project and an anthrax project. Provided that the
results are published for global, public dissemination, I personally
would prefer to participate in such a project -- but only through a
non-profit organisation like d.net.


Of course, d.net is run by the d.net people, who will have ultimate
decision power since they're the ones doing all the back-end work.

Please discuss!


Regards,
Fabian Fagerholm


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