Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press
"Test for Primes Menaces Internet," by David Appell. Discover, January 2003.
Among the major science breakthroughs of 2002 is the algorithm---only 13 lines long---of three computer scientists, which provides a test for whether a number is prime. Since encryption protocols used over the Internet rely on the difficulty of factoring into primes, this efficient solution of an age-old problem may create disruption and turmoil. The researchers are Manindra Agrawal, Neeraj Kayal, and Nitin Saxena of the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, India.
--- Annette Emerson