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> How much work was involved in the 3.5 years ?

Already answered somewhere but lost in this thread...

Hardly anything. Relaunching the computation after a black out or an OS reinstall or when I moved from one country to another : )

Also once in a while going ballistic with backups as to not lose x months / years of computations.

Then at the end doing as the puzzle says to do: xor to get the secret message. Get b from the secret message and do 5^b mod (2^1024) then find the first prime above the resulting number. Divide n by that first prime to get the second prime. This took no time.

> What do you think you do in your life that might have given you a leg up in cracking the puzzle ?

I don't know. It required finding it (mostly chance there), reading it and understanding how the parameters were set up, realizing that a solution could probably be found in some "reasonable" amount of time and then it required some dedication (and maybe a tiny of crazyness too) to run if for so long.

I clearly always liked optimization and learning new languages and trying libraries and whatnots: so as the solver was simple to implement I was easy to quickly try different languages / libraries. I kinda knew upon reading the puzzle that there was a good chance that it could be solved faster than expected.

But really it's like 10 or 12 lines of code. I spent some time doing performance tests but besides that it was just being patient?

I was clearly motivated by the idea that I could be the first one to find the solution to this puzzle. That one carrot worked wonderfully on me : )

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