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> Was this a side project? did it require much attention after the initial setup?

Totally a side project.

It hardly required any attention: just making sure the computation was running and making sure to backup the intermediate results once in a while (I had backups everywhere of the intermediate results: remote servers, USB keys, DVD, other computers at home, email, etc.).

I only needed to do a few tiny steps once I found the secret message (which contains a number which allows to compute one of the two prime numbers).




Did you knew for certain that your program will solve the puzzle at some time? Did you have an estimation of the date?


> Did you knew for certain that your program will solve the puzzle at some time?

The description of the problem itself explains a way to verify that intermediate results are correct.

> Did you have an estimation of the date?

Yes and that one is easy: I wrote a little piece of code (in Clojure, whatever, it's unrelated to finding the solution) which would check at which intermediate result the computation was and then compute an "ETA".

Fun story: I'd regularly send my brother something like this...

{ :time-left-in-years 1.239341704718417 :eta "1 year 2 month(s) 26 day(s)" :percentage-done 0.6284244211583109 }

(that's an actual estimate I found in my old emails)

: )




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