Factor Man

Reviewed on , book by Matt Ginsberg

If you figured out how to factor large prime numbers (and solve other NP-complete problems), what would you do? This is exactly the plot in “Factor Man”, who factors a prime number one bit larger every day on his blog… betting sites bet on whether he can go beyond 70-bits, and soon whether he’lll factor 256 bit numbers. All meanwhile governments are trying to hunt him down… He says he’ll sell it to the highest bidder for a year, then the US government will get it, and finally the year after that it’ll be released to the world.

I found myself oddly captivated. I felt you were able to tell that this is not a book with A-level editing, however, it didn’t take too much away from me. I was a bit skeptical of some of the science, but he had individuals connected who know much more about complexity theory than I, so that might say more about me than Ginsberg… overall, nerdy and surprisingly enjoyable. Good summer beach read.