Bovine RC5-64 team performance

This page was created and maintained by Kriton Kyrimis by using raw data from the stats pages and gnuplot. He has kindly given permission to mirror it here.

The RC5 cracking project (AKA project Bovine) is trying to beat the RSA Data Security Secret-Key Challenge. Having successfully cracked the 56-bit key challenge in 250 days, they are now tackling the 64-bit key challenge. Pessimists say that this will take 256 times longer, while optimists say that increased participation and Moore's law, which states that machine power doubles every 18 months, will ensure that the key is cracked within a more reasonable time frame.

The following graph shows how much time it would take to search the entire key space based on the daily processing rate of the Bovine team as it evolves with time. A downward curve will favor the optimists' view, while a steady or rising curve will favor the pessimists' view.

On September 25, 2002, annnounced that RC5-64 has been solved. Quoting from their announcement:

Ignoring artificially high numbers resulting from network difficulties, we completed 86,950,894 workunits on our best day. This is 0.12% of the total keyspace meaning that at our peak rate we could expect to exhaust the keyspace in 790 days.

This, in conjunction with the graph, where the exponential curve seems to match the data better, would seem to indicate that the optimists were right, and that the pessimists' view was, well, pessimistic!

[Projected maximum time required to process RC5-64 key space based on current key rate]

Here is the raw data (day number vs. key rate) for the plot, extracted from's stats page.

  [Project Bovine] If you own or administer a computer that is not being utilized 100%, consider joining's RC5 cracking project (AKA project Bovine). 

If you own an Amiga, you are urged to participate in the project under the Distributed Amiga team effort, one of the top teams participating in the effort.

[Amiga RC5 Team]