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Old 2016-01-25, 11:54   #1
Googulator
 
Dec 2015

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Default The sad state of Jeff Gilchrist's factoring pages

When one Googles for "msieve" and other queries related to factoring, one of the top Google results is Jeff's factoring guide & Windows binaries pages. The README file of YAFU also links to these pages, so almost everyone searching for a way to factor large numbers will at some point end up relying on Jeff's site. They are indeed a great resource - but unfortunately, heavily outdated. This post is intended to be a call to action for updating these pages.

http://gilchrist.ca/jeff/factoring/n...ers_guide.html includes a link to download factmsieve.py - too bad that it's broken. The current link is http://gladman.me.uk/computing/factoring.php - but even here, only factmsieve.76.zip is offered, when factmsieve.86.zip (AFAIK the latest version, correct me if I'm wrong) is available here: http://www.mersenneforum.org/showpos...&postcount=641

Continuing to http://gilchrist.ca/jeff/factoring/index.html, we find Windows binaries for msieve, the GGNFS lattice sievers, and ecm. This page is in an even more dire need of updating: the top 2 versions of msieve (SVN 939 CPU and 942 CUDA) are broken, and will crash in linear algebra. Luckily SVN 883 is still available, but there is no warning that it should be used instead of the newer versions. And if you have a pre-Nehalem CPU, the latest version offered is 1.50; likewise, the latest working CUDA version here is 1.50. Much newer binaries are available in this thread (SVN 988 for CPU, and SVN 991 for CUDA, all the way from Core 2 to Haswell). Finally, the GGNFS sievers hosted here are the outdated, inefficient C versions, instead of the ASM64 ones available here - with the argfix zip necessary for YAFU available separately, creating a completely opaque situation for newcomers.

As a result, new users following these guides will end up with a broken system, and even after failing in linear algebra (potentially after days or weeks of sieving) and discovering that they need the old SVN 883 build of msieve, they will continue wasting CPU cycles running the inefficient sievers. This is especially a problem with the current surge of newcomer interest in factoring thanks to the TeslaCrypt break.
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Old 2016-01-25, 20:55   #2
Batalov
 
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Have you tried emailing him?
He rarely ever comes here. (Last visit was in 2013.)
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Old 2016-01-25, 22:43   #3
Googulator
 
Dec 2015

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I didn't realize that, I thought he's a regular poster on this forum. Anyway, sent him a mail regarding the situation.
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Old 2016-01-25, 23:38   #4
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He used to be quite active here, sad to see him go.

Last fiddled with by jasonp on 2016-01-25 at 23:38
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Old 2016-01-26, 01:15   #5
Jeff Gilchrist
 
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Hey everyone, I'm not dead. Thanks for your concern though. @Xyzzy tipped me off there was a post inquiring about me so I popped in. Sadly Real Life(TM) has kept me busy the past couple of years so not much time for prime related things.

Googulator, sorry for the sad state of my pages but you know what they say, you get what you pay for. Thanks for emailing me some updated information, I will put updating the web pages on my ToDo list and hope to get to it in the near future. Lots of things change in a few years so there is probably lots of updating to do.

Hopefully everyone else is doing well. @jasonp it looks like msieve was last updated a couple of years ago. Did you stop development on it or did it just get so awesome it does not need updating any more?

Last fiddled with by Jeff Gilchrist on 2016-01-26 at 01:16
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Old 2016-01-26, 11:54   #6
jasonp
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Releases are few and far between, and another one is long overdue, but work continues when time allows.
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