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I'm more of a programmer than a Mathematician so please bear with me if my question is too trivial.

I am looking up RSA specifically the key generation bit. Using Trial division, I know that it would take roughly (2*(n^0.5))/ln n divisions to find the factors of n.

However I'd like to represent this in a generalized manner i.e. how many divisions would it take to factorize the product of two k-digit primes ?

Any help would be much appreciated

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I will assume that both primes are approximately $5\times 10^k$. This is in fact the worst-case scenario for trial division. How long trial division will take depends on how exactly you implement it. If you have a table of all primes with up to $5\times 10^k$, then the number of trial divisions will be equal to the number of primes up to $5\times 10^k$, which is $$\pi(5\times 10^k)\approx\frac{5\times 10^k}{\ln 5\times 10^k}=\frac{5\times 10^k}{\ln 5 + k\ln 10}$$ with the approximation following from the prime number theorem. However, if you do not have such a table (which is likely the case if $k$ is large enough for the primes to be used for RSA) then you will need to perform $5\times 10^k$ trial divisions.

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Thank you that helped :) – Jonny Mar 25 '12 at 12:25

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