|distributed.net Faq-O-Matic : General background information : How did all this begin?|
The initial effort to win the RC5-56 contest was started by New Media Laboratories. Due to various internal factors, New Media opted to discontinue their involvement in the decryption effort. In the chaos that arose after the New Media server mysteriously disappeared, a student at Harvey Mudd college, Jeff Lawson (aka Bovine), coded the Bovine Proxy Keyserver. Initially, the goal was to allow the New Media effort to continue, storing completed keys, until the New Media server came back online. However, after it became clear that New Media would not be returning to the effort, the Key Server was modified to act as the master coordinator, completely controlling key generation and assuming full control of the effort. The rest, as they say, is history.
As the newly formed Bovine Project began to gain members, and therefore computing power, it occurred to us that a large, distributed computer like ours could be used to solve several interesting problems unrelated to RC5 or even encryption. distributed.net registered as an official nonprofit organization (officially Distributed Computing Technologies, Inc.) in November of 1997 with this new, long-range goal in mind. In support of this new goal a new class of general purpose client, is being designed. The future clients will be modular and will support any number of different, challenge specific computing cores. The completion of those clients will make it possible for distributed.net to take part in a large number of distributed computing projects at the same time.
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