## Distributed.net Starts New Project 86

drydorn writes

*"Today, distributed.net will officially begin its next distributed computing project. Visit their Optimal Golomb Rulers project page for more details. Their first ruler length will be 24 marks, known in D.net lingo as OGR-24. "*And, remember, your mantra: I must sign up for Slashdot Team. I must crack keys. You can grab your client here, which includes documentation on installation, what clients do, etc. etc.
## there are no keys (Score:1)

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## Glad to see another project at d.net (Score:1)

Back to hard math!

## What's the Point? (Score:1)

## Finally! (Score:2)

## Question (Score:1)

And why aren't Americans using meters and litres yet? Sounds like they're a bit old-fashioned to me -- a paradox considering they claim to be the most amazing whizbang country ever made since sliced breadsville....

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## But it is vital to take part in this! (Score:1)

When this happens, you will be able to say "I was part of that". This will finally give you the respect you deserve. Women will come flocking to you wanting to be yours. Rich businessmen will pay you lots of money for a few seconds of your valuable advice. Governments will set aside days to celebrate your amazing achievements. You will never have to work again. You will be revered as a God by even some of the most advanced civilisations.

## At last! A *real* astronomical project. (Score:2)

OK OK I will concede that SETI@home has a small chance of finding alien life, but, the chance is still remote and the amount of data that they are processing is miniscule compared to what we really need to be doing to seriously have a chance.

Large OGR's will of course help improve the sensitivity of Long Baseline arrays and other sensors, and therefore improve the quality of data produced. So... who knows - maybe running your CPU on this will help the search for extra terrestrial intelligence more than running seti@home.

Personally I'm waiting for distributed.net to help the Spaceguard foundation save the world from cosmic hazards so that other alien races will have someone to talk to in the future.

## Re:Question (Score:1)

Damn

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## On the subject of _long_ projects.. (Score:1)

## Slashdot team 34th on ECC2K-108 cracking effort (Score:1)

## What's the point in a screensaver? (Score:1)

So, let's put those computers to do

something. It may be just some pictures of some moving objects on the screen, if you likethat.But you might as well do something useful. Well, maybe it has just some very obscure use, in a theoretical application somewhere. Maybe it's potentially useful, but it hasn't been proved so yet. Who cares? You aren't losing much, just your unused clock cycles...

From the /. moderator guidelines:

If you can't be deep, be funny## Re:there are no keys (Score:1)

-hemos

## All np complete problems become shallow. (Score:2)

## Mathematical masturbation (Score:2)

If you are interested in genetic programming take a look here [genetic-programming.org] for more info.

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## Re:At last! A *real* astronomical project. (Score:1)

Yes, we have about as much chance of finding them as finding a fart in a hurricane, but who cares?! My computer may just be the first to find a little green man. Quite what I'll do if/when that happens is anyones guess.

## impostereous (Score:2)

## Re:What's the Point? (Score:1)

See http://members.aol.com/golomb20/intro.htm [aol.com] for more information.

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## Re:Mathematical masturbation (Score:1)

## ppstats-ogr-7.1 (Score:1)

For those who care, the personal proxy stats script for the OGR project should be done tonight and ready for public consumption. Check out the new ppstats homepage @ http://ppstats.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]. The ppstats-ogr ftp directory is the one you will want to look in. The announcement will also be posted on freshmeat.

/PLUG

Start cycling those nodes!

## Re:Finally! (Score:2)

As an alternative, what about the Gamma Flux [dcypher.net] project over at dcypher.net ?

This has a useful application to it - ray tracing for making safer containers to hold radioactive waste.

Stats aren't quite as cool as distributed though ;)

## Re:Mathematical masturbation (Score:2)

provingthe insecurity of encryption - this is meaningless. We can tell precicely how much computing power it will require to crack any given encryption algorithm (both worst case, and average case). We can even estimate how long a system such as distributed.net would take to do it, actually doing it adds nothing whatsoever to the debate, it is a waste of time and resources, and tells us nothing. Much more interesting to actuallycreatesomething (such as a new sorting algorithm or A-life).--

## Re:Finally! (Score:2)

## Re:impostereous (Score:1)

## Re:ppstats-ogr-7.1 (Score:1)

## Re:Mathematical masturbation (Score:1)

Actually, it does. The EFF's building [eff.org] (and publishing the plans [oreilly.com] for) Deep Crack did more to show legislators and other

non-techies the ridiculous nature of low limits on key lengths than any amount of mathematical discussion or mentions of Moore's Law ever could. Think of it as a great big clue stick.("What? For $250K anyone can build a box that will break bank encryption in a day?" "Well, it'd cost less now, because the design is already done." "How can we fix this?" "Raise the key lengths.")

## I was with you for the first 3.5 sentences (Score:1)

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## And then there's the Tierra project (Score:3)

The distributed computing project I'd most like to see get of the ground is The Tierra Project [atr.co.jp].

This project is exploring digital evolution. Start off with a bunch of organisms and breed them with genetic algorithms. See how they fare.

Then, and this is where it gets interesting, an organism can migrate from one host to another, possibly taking better advantage of the environement there. What kinds of digital ecologies will appear? What kinds of emergent behaviour will be encountered?

It's actually much more complex than that. If you're curious, I recommend reading the introduction [atr.co.jp].

## Re:Mathematical masturbation (Score:1)

Imagine Kennedy had said such a thing in 1960-something. "We estimate we can get to the moon before the soviets do, so we're not actually going to do it, it's a waste of resources, and tells us nothing."

There is a difference between estimating it and actually

doingit, you know...## Re:What's the Point? (Score:1)

------------------------------------------

UNIX isn't dead, it just smells funny...

## Hooray! (Score:1)

RC5 -- someone already knows the answer! I understand the social implications, but jeez.. I think it was much more convincing when EFF built that DES cracker...

SETI -- Without source code or results we can verify, who knows what this is doing? The conspiracy theorist in me hints that this might be the NSA's "distributed client" (how would you do it?)

At least doing some math has verifiable results and is discovering *new facts* about the universe. Projects like this and GIMPS (my favorite; http://entropia.com/ips/) are more worthwhile.

## Re:ppstats-ogr-7.1 (Score:1)

## Re:Mathematical masturbation (Score:1)

-----------------------------------------------

UNIX isn't dead, it just smells funny...

## Re:Not playing... (Score:1)

Of course it's up to you, but I'll be chipping in

myfree cycles.## GIMPS (Mersenne prime search) (Score:1)

Another worthy distributed math project is GIMPS [mersenne.org] (Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search).

More on Mersenne primes [utm.edu] here.

## Re:ppstats-ogr-7.1 (Score:1)

=)

## Re:I was with you for the first 3.5 sentences (Score:2)

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## Its tomorrow now? (Score:2)

Wonder what happened there, I guess I'll have to go onto irc and ask.

## Re:I was with you for the first 3.5 sentences (Score:1)

We already know the fastest possible generalized sorting algorithmProve it!

I mean - until you can prove the minimum amount of work needed you can't assume that the best algorithm found so far is the best

What I think would be really interesting was if we could evolve the algorithms for cracking RSA and simultaneously get a bunch of mathematicians to try and work out the minimum that the successful algorithm would need to do. Only when these two "values" are the same or nearly the same can we say we have found the best algorithm.

Also, it is quite likely that for certain algorithms (we can't rule RSA-cracking ones out) there is NO best algorithm. They're are some mathematical questions that CANNOT be answered - EVER.

## Re:Mathematical masturbation (Score:2)

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## Re:Processor intensive applications? (Score:1)

## Re:Finally! (Score:1)

## Re:Mathematical masturbation (Score:1)

Ivo Janssen

ivo at distributed.net

## Re:Mathematical masturbation (Score:1)

## Re: Source, Outdated? (Score:1)

But, back to Tierra. Tom Ray was the motivating force, if you want a contact point. The networked version hasn't been released, as far as I know; the other version is released under an open source license, copied below from the original location [santafe.edu]:

1) License Agreement

Tierra Simulator V5.0: Copyright (c) 1990 - 1998 Thomas S. Ray

Tom Ray, ray@udel.edu ray@santafe.edu ray@hip.atr.co.jp (the bulk of the code)

Joseph F. Hart, jhart@hip.atr.co.jp (general programming, Amiga support)

Matt Jones, mjones@condor.psych.ucsb.edu (Mac support)

Agnes Charrel, charrel@int-evry.fr, (tping code for network version)

Tsukasa Kimezawa, kim@hip.atr.co.jp (socket code for network version)

Kurt Thearling, kurt@think.com (CM5 adaptation, parallel creatures)

Dan Pirone, cocteau@life.slhs.udel.edu (frontend, crossover)

Tom Uffner, tom@genie.slhs.udel.edu (rework of genebanker & assembler)

If you purchased this program on disk, thank you for your support. If you obtained the source code through the net or friends, we invite you to contribute an amount that represents the program's worth to you. You may make a check in US dollars payable to Virtual Life, and mail the check to one of the two addresses listed below.

This is license agreement:

The source code, documentation, and executables can be freely distributed

The source code and documentation is copyrighted, all rights reserved. The source code, documentation, and the executable files may be freely copied and distributed without fees (contributions welcome), subject to the following restrictions:

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## Re:Its tomorrow now? (Score:1)

Sorry for any 'cowfusion' }:8)

## "Real Science" Better than Cracking Keys... (Score:1)

I like SETI@home for the same reason. (Although, in the end it'll be either a strike-out or a home run).

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the coummunity demonstrating the weakness of small key encryption, but when we are done, what do we to show for it? I guess leverage against weak crypto-heads.

I like this usefull science/math stuff better.

## Re:And then there's the Tierra project (Score:2)

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## Re:But it is vital to take part in this! (Score:1)

## Re:What's the Point? (Score:2)

## Re:Mathematical masturbation (Score:2)

realcontribution to humanity if they were to apply themselves to GP or GA.## Re:Mathematical masturbation (Score:1)

## Re:I was with you for the first 3.5 sentences (Score:2)

If all you can do is compare two keys at a time, to tell which one is bigger, then any sorting algorithm has a worst case of O(n lg n). And, since there are already algorithms that achieve this worst case, yes, we've found the best there is.Not really. Quicksort has the same worst case and "average" (from a analytical, random input standpoint) performance as mergesort, but yet quicksort performs better "in practice". Worst case or even average case analysis doesn't tell you everything.

## What's the approach? (Score:2)

## Semantic masturbation & utility (Score:1)

I agree with you that the folks at Project Lightbulb [sourceforge.net] are doing more interesting things. Then again, I'm more interested in Open Source ("Free", whatever) Software than I am in number theory. (Although I think number theory is neat, and lots of fun.)

But the point needs to be made, and by someone other than our good man Ivo, that no one associated with the OGR project [distributed.net] is wasting their time. Some people like numbers more than they like modular programs. At any rate, writing distributed computing programs is a lot different from running distributed computing projects.

#include high_horse.h

{

Why do people - myself included - think they can blithely dismiss a problem if they know how to classify it?

}

## Re:I was with you for the first 3.5 sentences (Score:2)

Not really. Quicksort has the same worst case and "average" (from a analytical, random input standpoint) performance as mergesort, but yet quicksort performs better "in practice".That's wrong. Mergesort is O (n log n) worst case. Worst case quicksort is Omega (n^2). And to make it worse, common implementations of picking the pivot element (first element, last element, median of the first three elements) have sorted inputs as their worst case (that is, they produce their own worst case input). Even if you pick a pivot at random, there is a non-zero chance you always pick an extreme, leading to quadratic behaviour.

Now, you *can* find a median of a set in linear time, and using such a method to find the pivot leads to a worst-case O (n log n) sorting algorithm. However, the overhead is so much, the resulting algorithm will be slower, more complicated, and certainly less elegant than either mergesort or heapsort.

References:

Knuth, D.E:

The Art of Computer Programming, Vol III, Sorting and Searching, 2nd edition, Addison-Wesley, 1998. ISBN 0-201-89685-0.Cormen, T. H., Leiserson, C. E. and Rivest, R. L.:

Introduction to AlgorithmsMIT Press, 1990, ISBN 0-262-53091-0.Hoare, C.A.R.: "Algorithm 63, Partition; Algorithm 64, Quicksort"

Communications of the ACM, Vol 4, 1961, p 321.-- Abigail

## Re:I was with you for the first 3.5 sentences (Score:2)

That's wrong. Mergesort is O (n log n) worst case. Worst case quicksort is Omega (n^2).Right, I forget. But the point remains that worst case or average case analysis doesn't tell you everything you need to know about the algorithm's performance - even though (as you point out) quicksort has an inferior worst case performance, it performs better 'in practice'.

## OGR Slow or Huge? (Score:1)

## test (Score:1)

## The first 'for-pay' distributed computing project (Score:1)

## Not to worry.... (Score:1)