10,000 machines, 549 days to break code

    Date07 Nov 2002
    CategoryCryptography
    3408
    Posted ByAnthony Pell
    It took the power of 10,000 computers running around the clock for 549 days, coupled with the brain power of a mathematician at Indiana's University of Notre Dame, to complete one of the world's largest single math computations.. . . It took the power of 10,000 computers running around the clock for 549 days, coupled with the brain power of a mathematician at Indiana's University of Notre Dame, to complete one of the world's largest single math computations.

    Certicom had challenged scientists, mathematicians, cryptographers and hackers to try to break one of the encryption codes the firm uses to protect digital data.

    The solution, rewarded with a $10,000 prize and even richer bragging rights, was reached at 12:56 p.m. on Oct. 15, said Notre Dame researcher and teacher Chris Monico.

    "I stared at it in mild disbelief for a while," he said. "I wanted desperately to jump up and down, but the mathematician in me said 'You'd better double check'."

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