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What are the Best Factoring Methods in Use Today?


Factoring is a very active field of research among mathematicians and computer scientists; the best factoring algorithms are mentioned below with some references and their big-O asymptotic efficiency. O notation measures how fast an algorithm is; it gives an upper bound on the number of operations (to order of magnitude) in terms of n, the number to be factored, and p, a prime factor of n.

Factoring algorithms come in two flavors, special purpose and general purpose; the efficiency of the former depends on the unknown factors, whereas the efficiency of the latter depends on the number to be factored. Special-purpose algorithms are best for factoring numbers with small factors, but the numbers used for the modulus in the RSA system do not have any small factors. Therefore, general-purpose factoring algorithms are the more important ones in the context of cryptographic systems and their security.

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