Question 50. What is the RSA Factoring Challenge?

The RSA Factoring Challenge was started in March 1991 by RSA Data Security, Inc. to keep abreast of the state of the art in factoring. Since its inception well over a thousand numbers have been factored, with the factorers returning valuable information on the methods they used to complete the factorizations. The Factoring Challenge provides one of the largest test-beds for factoring implementations and provides one of the largest collections of factoring results from many different experts worldwide. In short, this vast pool of information gives us an excellent opportunity to compare the effectiveness of different factoring techniques as they are implemented and used in practice. Since the Security of the RSA public-key cryptosystem relies on the inability to factor large numbers of a special type, the cryptographic significance of these results is self-evident.

The contest is administered by RSA Data Security with quarterly cash prices. Send e-mail to <> for more information. For an analysis of results from the factoring challenge, see [FR95].