Open letter to the Electronic Frontier Foundation

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Sept. 27, 2008

The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Cooperative Computing Awards offer prizes up to $250K for the discovery of large prime numbers, the stated goal being "to encourage ordinary Internet users to contribute to solving huge scientific problems".

This program, though admirable, needs an update. Finding large prime numbers is not science; it doesn't prove or disprove any conjecture. Euclid proved that there are arbitrarily large prime numbers, and there is an algorithm for enumerating them.

Today, there are about 50 volunteer computing projects, doing a wide range of scientific research, and publishing results in top journals. I suggest that the Electronic Frontier Foundation change their Cooperative Computing Awards to include these areas of science. For example:


David Anderson
Research Scientist
University of California, Berkeley
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