"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