1993-11-23 - Re: Pyrrhus Cracks RSA?

Header Data

From: Peter Wayner <pcw@access.digex.net>
To: cfrye@ciis.mitre.org
Message Hash: 99ee9c9ca421fd15f8407370fe493ed0ee831ab5f401db80f8f7ba153512106c
Message ID: <199311231712.AA09581@access.digex.net>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1993-11-23 17:13:17 UTC
Raw Date: Tue, 23 Nov 93 09:13:17 PST

Raw message

From: Peter Wayner <pcw@access.digex.net>
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 93 09:13:17 PST
To: cfrye@ciis.mitre.org
Subject: Re: Pyrrhus Cracks RSA?
Message-ID: <199311231712.AA09581@access.digex.net>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

I've always felt that the NSA and its corp of mathematicians
has a much greater chance of breaking anything than the 
folks in the University. 

Even in the best situation (MIT), a professor must devote
substantial time to raising money to support themselves,
their travel expenses and their graduate students. There
aren't many folks who hold positions in these schools. 
The rest are in schools where the professor must also
teach 2-4 classes to pay for food. Research is nice
in these places, but it doesn't pay the rent. 

Very, very few people have the freedom and the time to
devote to deep exploration of problems like cracking RSA.
Most of them are in the NSA. 

There is no doubt that the restrictive work environment
is a pain in the neck. But, most mathematicians don't 
really have many choices. They can go to a small college
and teach forever. They can go to industry and work hard
on the industry's problems. Or they can go to the NSA.
It really isn't a bad choice in many respects. No classes.
No students whining about their grades or asking for
an extension. No endless search for grant money. If you
want to do algebra or number theory or a host of other
problems, it might be considered one of the best environments
you could get short of the Institute for Advanced Study.