Distributed.net

Distributed.net

Infobox Website
name = distributed.net



caption =
url = http://www.distributed.net/
type = volunteer computing
language =
registration =
owner = Distributed Computing Technologies, Inc.
author =
launch date = 1997
current status =
revenue =

distributed.net (or Distributed Computing Technologies, Inc. or DCTI) is a world-wide distributed computing effort that is attempting to solve large scale problems using otherwise idle CPU time. It is officially recognized as a non-profit organization under U.S. tax code 501(c)(3).

Currently, distributed.net is working on RC5-72 (breaking RC5 with a 72-bit key) [cite web|url=http://www.distributed.net/rc5/|title=RC5-72 project page|publisher=distributed.net] , and the OGR-25 project [cite web|url=http://www.distributed.net/ogr/|title=OGR project page|publisher=distributed.net] , which is searching for 25 point optimal Golomb rulers. The OGR project is expected to complete before the end of 2008, while RC5-72 has an expected completion date of over one thousand years. Both problems are part of a series— OGR is part of an infinite series; RC5 currently has eight unsolved challenges from RSA Security, although in May 2007, RSA Security announced [cite web|url=http://www.rsa.com/rsalabs/node.asp?id=2100|title=RSA Laboratories Secret-Key Challenge|publisher=rsa.com] that they would no longer be providing prize money for a correct key to any of their secret key challenges.

As of 2001, distributed.net was estimated to have a throughput of over 30 TFLOPS. [http://lists.distributed.net/pipermail/rc5/2001-June/037127.html] Modern throughput is likely to be much higher.

History

A coordinated effort was started in February 1997 by Earle Ady and Christopher G. Stach II of Hotjobs.com and New Media Labs fame, as an effort to break the RC5-56 portion of the RSA Secret-Key Challenge, a 56-bit encryption algorithm that had a $10,000 USD prize available to anyone who could find the key. Unfortunately, this initial effort had to be suspended as the result of SYN flood attacks by participants upon the server. [cite news|url=http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,2350,00.html|first=James|last=Glave|title=Macho Computing at Root of RSA Contest Flap|publisher=Wired|date=1997-03-03]

A new independent effort, named distributed.net, was later coordinated by Jeff Lawson in March 1997 to resume the effort. A cow head was selected as the icon of the application and the project's mascot. [cite web|url=http://faq.distributed.net/?file=80|title=What's with all the cows?|publisher=distributed.net] The RC5-56 challenge was solved on October 19, 1997 after 250 days.cite web|url=http://www.distributed.net/history.php distributed.net|title=History & Timeline|publisher=distributed.net]

The next project was the RC5-64 challenge which took nearly five years to complete before the correct key (0x63DE7DC154F4D039) was found on July 14, 2002 decrypting the message to the plaintext "some things are better left unread". [cite web|url=http://www1.distributed.net/pressroom/news-20020926.txt|format=txt|title=distributed.net completes rc5-64 project list announcement|publisher=distributed.net|date=2002-09-26]

Official projects

"dnetc" is the name of the software program which users run to participate in the projects. It is available for a large number of platforms, and is a command line program with an interface to configure it. As of May 2007, Win32/x86 is the most used configuration, with Mac OS X/PPC in second place, and Linux/x86 in third place . [cite web|url=http://stats.distributed.net/misc/platformlist.php?project_id=8&view=tco|title=RC5-72 / CPU Participation|publisher=distributed.net]

; Current
* Optimal Golomb Rulers (OGR-25) — "In progress"
* RSA Lab's 72-bit RC5 Encryption Challenge — "In progress" (although RSA Labs has discontinued the challenge)

; Cryptography
* RSA Lab's 56-bit RC5 Encryption Challenge — "Completed 19 October 1997" (after 250 days and 47% of the key space tested).
* RSA Lab's 56-bit DES II-1 Encryption Challenge — "Completed 24 February 1998" (after 39 days)
* RSA Lab's 56-bit DES II-2 Encryption Challenge — "Ended 17 July 1998" (found independently by EFF's Deep Crack custom DES cracker after 2.5 days)
* RSA Lab's 56-bit DES-III Encryption Challenge — "Completed 19 January 1999" (after 22.5 hours with the help of EFF's Deep Crack custom DES cracker)
* CS-Cipher Challenge — "Completed 16 January 2000" (after 60 days and 98% of the key space tested).
* RSA Lab's 64-bit RC5 Encryption Challenge — "Completed 14 July 2002" (after 1757 days and 83% of the key space tested).

; Other
* Optimal Golomb Rulers (OGR-24) — "Completed 13 October 2004" [cite web|url=http://n0cgi.distributed.net/cgi/planarc.cgi?user=gregh&plan=2004-11-01.23:48|title=Plan entry by Greg Hewgill|date=2004-11-01]

ee also

* RSA Secret-Key Challenge
* DES Challenges
* Brute force attack
* Cryptanalysis
* Key size
* Seventeen or Bust
* List of distributed computing projects

References

External links

* [http://www.distributed.net/ Official website]
* [http://www.rsasecurity.com/rsalabs/node.asp?id=2100 The RSA Laboratories Secret-Key Challenge] (now closed)


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