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Toward a new factoring record.

Toward a new factoring record

First, there was the "Georgia Cracker," a custom-built machine for finding the prime factors of large composite numbers (SN: 3/30/85, p. 202). It was an inexpensive answer to the time-consuming problem of factoring large numbers, and it worked reasonably well with numbers up to 70 digits long. Now, Jeffrey W. Smith, Randy Tuler and Carl Pomerance of the University of Georgia in Athens are constructing a new machine specially designed to implement a factoring method known as the quadratic sieve. The researchers expect that the machine can be built from readily available components at a cost of only $25,000. If all goes well, says Pomerance, the machine should be able to factor an arbitrary 100-digit number in a running time of only a few weeks. In contrast, a Cray X-MP supercomputer would have to run for a year to factor the same number.

"We think we're pretty close to completion," says Pomerance. "We have a lot of problems still to overcome, but we think we can overcome them." The new factoring machine may be tackling numbers of record length by next summer.
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Title Annotation:new machine designed to implement a factoring method known as the quadratic sieve
Author:Peterson, Ivars
Publication:Science News
Date:Jan 23, 1988
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