- **NFSNET Discussion**
(*https://www.mersenneforum.org/forumdisplay.php?f=17*)

- - **Questions about NFSNET**
(*https://www.mersenneforum.org/showthread.php?t=4671*)

Questions about NFSNETThe goal of the NFSNET project is to use the Number Field Sieve to find the factors of increasingly large numbers.I have following questions
1. Why they are working to findout the prime factors of a large number?. 2. Is factoring have any commercial /industrial applications? (the only apllication is breaking RSA,but it is not a commercial/industrial application) 3. Who sponsers this NFSNET project? 4. What they get it by running this project? |

[QUOTE=koders333]The goal of the NFSNET project is to use the Number Field Sieve to find the factors of increasingly large numbers.I have following questions
1. Why they are working to findout the prime factors of a large number?. 2. Is factoring have any commercial /industrial applications? (the only apllication is breaking RSA,but it is not a commercial/industrial application) 3. Who sponsers this NFSNET project? 4. What they get it by running this project?[/QUOTE] (1) The numbers being factored generally have special form that is of interest to mathematicians. The factorizations can be useful in a number of areas, e.g. raising the lower bound on odd perfect numbers, and determining the multiplicative sub-groups of finite fields. Factorizations have been used to construct LFSR's and pseudo RNG's. (2) Not factoring per se, but knowing how hard it is allows us to choose secure keysizes for public-key cryptographic algorithms. (3) Noone sponsors it. It is a volunteer effort. (4) What does anyone get out of any research project? It helps advance the state-of-the-art. |

[QUOTE=R.D. Silverman](1) The numbers being factored generally have special form that is
of interest to mathematicians. The factorizations can be useful in a number of areas, e.g. raising the lower bound on odd perfect numbers, and determining the multiplicative sub-groups of finite fields. Factorizations have been used to construct LFSR's and pseudo RNG's. (2) Not factoring per se, but knowing how hard it is allows us to choose secure keysizes for public-key cryptographic algorithms. (3) Noone sponsors it. It is a volunteer effort. (4) What does anyone get out of any research project? It helps advance the state-of-the-art.[/QUOTE] Its really great thing. Developing & running such research projects without any financial gain. |

[QUOTE=R.D. Silverman](1) The numbers being factored generally have special form that is
of interest to mathematicians. The factorizations can be useful in a number of areas, e.g. raising the lower bound on odd perfect numbers, and determining the multiplicative sub-groups of finite fields. Factorizations have been used to construct LFSR's and pseudo RNG's. (2) Not factoring per se, but knowing how hard it is allows us to choose secure keysizes for public-key cryptographic algorithms. (3) Noone sponsors it. It is a volunteer effort. (4) What does anyone get out of any research project? It helps advance the state-of-the-art.[/QUOTE] [url]http://research.microsoft.com/security/[/url] In the above link says NFSNET projects was sponserd by microsoft |

If you consider the contribution of computing resources and permitting one of their employees to work on the project from their office as sponsorship, then Microsoft Research Cambridge "sponsored" the project for a part of the time that Paul was employed there.
However, the same can also be said of a number of other corporations and institutions who allow their idle computers to be used. No company, other than perhaps those of Don and myself as independent consultants, has contributed equipment or funds expressly to the NFSNET project. In each case, any contributions have been in support of a volunteer who wanted to participate. In reality, we are presently in the third dynasty of the project. Back in the early '90s, I got interested in factoring and "signed up" to help Dr. Silverman sieve. At that time I had a 486 computer, but soon upgraded to a "state-of-the-art" Pentium. I soon took over the administrative chore of assigning sieving ranges and collecting results so that Dr. Silverman could spend his time working on the more complex "math" part of the project. Then, to make my time spent more effective, I made some minor changes to the sieving program and wrote some scripts to automate the assignment process. Thus NFSNET was born. Bob determined the sieving parameters. I made the assignments and collected the results and, through Peter, CWI did the post processing. We were able to set some new records in factoring because we brought together a diverse array of computing resources. I recall a bank in Brisbane, the "build" computer at a large computer company in California, about 100 workstations at a company in Chicago, and many others. Then, as now, we are somewhat limited in participants because of the resources required for an individual machine to participate efficiently. Those which do not have adequate capability are better suited to adjunct efforts such as ECM which require far less memory. This went on for a few years until I lost my 24hr Internet connection and had to drop out. Thus ended the first dynasty. Conrad Curry picked up the effort. I know little about what happened then because I was not available or involved. This was the second dynasty. In 2002, Paul was approached about trying to revive the then inactive project. Although I don't remember the details, with the encouragement of a number of "the names" in the factoring community, he and I and Don got together and reactivated NFSNET. Paul was working at MSRC and had access to a computing cluster of 16 dual processor machines. This was an invaluable resource for the matrix manipulation that follows the sieving. Because Paul has left MSRC, we have had to cut back on the difficulty of the numbers that we are attempting since the matrix manipulation is now being done on our personal workstations rather than a high speed cluster funded by some corporation or institution. |

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