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New Probabilistic Approach to Factoring Big Numbers

Product of two large primes are at the core of many encryption algorithms, as factoring the product is very hard for numbers with a few hundred digits. The two prime factors are associated with the encryption keys (public and private keys). Here we describe a new approach to factoring a big number that is the product of two primes of roughly the same size. It is designed especially to handle this problem and identify flaws in encryption algorithms.

Riemann zeta function in the complex plane

While at first glance it appears to substantially reduce the computational complexity of traditional factoring, at this stage there is still a lot of progress needed to make the new algorithm efficient. An interesting feature is that the success depends on the probability of two numbers to be co-prime, given the fact that they don't share the first few primes (say 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13) as common divisors. This probability can be computed explicitly and is about 99%.

The methodology relies heavily on solving systems of congruences, the Chinese Remainder Theorem, and the modular multiplicative inverse of some carefully chosen integers. We also discuss computational complexity issues. Finally, the off-the-beaten-path material presented here leads to many original exercises or exam questions for students learning probability, computer science, or number theory: proving the various simple statements made in my article.

Content

Some Number Theory Explained in Simple English

• Co-primes and pairwise co-primes
• Probability of being co-prime
• Modular multiplicative inverse
• Chinese remainder theorem, version A
• Chinese remainder theorem, version B

The New Factoring Algorithm

• Improving computational complexity
• Five-step algorithm
• Probabilistic optimization
• Compact Formulation of the Problem

Other Math Articles by Same Author

Here is a selection of articles pertaining to experimental math and probabilistic number theory:

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