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Subsections

# Operation count, equipment cost, and real time

The asymptotic characteristics of standard-NFS and circuit-NFS with respect to their operation count, equipment, and real time spent are summarized in Table 1. For non- equipment requirements it is specified if the main cost goes to memory (RAM''), processing elements (PEs'') with memory, or a square mesh as in 3.1, and tuned'' refers to the alternative analysis in 3.6. The underlined operation counts are the same as the corresponding throughput costs. For the other operation count the throughput cost (not optimized if no sieving is used) follows by taking the maximum of the products of the figures in the equipment'' and real time'' columns. Relation collection, whether using sieving or not, allows almost arbitrary parallelization (as used in the last two rows of Table 1). The amount of parallelization allowed in the matrix step of standard-NFS is much more limited (cf. 2.5); it is not used in Table 1. ## 4.1. Lowering the cost of the standard-NFS matrix step.

We show at what cost the asymptotic advantages of the circuit-NFS matrix step (low throughput cost and short real time) can be matched, asymptotically, using the traditional approach to the matrix step. This requires a smaller matrix, i.e., lower smoothness bounds, and results therefore in slower relation collection. We illustrate this with two examples. To get matching throughput costs for the matrix steps of standard-NFS and circuit-NFS, must be chosen such that , so that the matrix step of standard-NFS requires RAM and real time . Substituting this in Relation (1) and minimizing with respect to we find   (5)

i.e., and , resulting in relation collection operation count . Or, one could match the real time of the matrix steps: with the matrix step of standard-NFS requires RAM and real time . With Relation (5) we find that , , and relation collection operation count .

## 4.2. Operation count based estimates.

Operation count is the traditional way of measuring the cost of the NFS. It corresponds to the standard complexity measure of runtime'' and neglects the cost of memory or other equipment that is needed to actually run'' the algorithm. It was used, for instance, in  and  and was analysed in 2.6 and 2.7. It can be seen in Table 1, and was indicated in 3.5, that the operation count for circuit-NFS is higher than for standard-NFS (assuming both methods are optimized with respect to the operation count): as opposed to just when using the improved version (cf. 2.7) as in Table 1, or as opposed to when using the ordinary version (cf. 2.6) as in 3.5. Thus, RSA moduli that are deemed sufficiently secure based on standard-NFS operation count security estimates, are even more secure when circuit-NFS is considered instead. Such estimates are common; see for instance  and the computationally equivalent'' estimates in [9,12]. Security estimates based on the recommendations from  or the main ones (i.e., the conservative computationally equivalent'' ones) from [9,12] are therefore not affected by the result from . Nevertheless, we agree with  that the PC-based realization suggested in , meant to present an at the time possibly realistic approach that users can relate to, may not be the best way to realize a certain operation count; see also the last paragraph of [12, 2.4.7]. The estimates from  are affected by .

## Remark 4.3

Historically, in past factorization experiments the matrix step was always solved using a fraction of the effort required by relation collection. Moreover, the memory requirements of sieving-based relation collection have never turned out to be a serious problem (it was not even necessary to fall back to the memory-efficient ECM and its variations). Thus, despite the asymptotic analysis, extrapolation from past experience would predict that the bottleneck of the NFS method is relation collection, and that simple operation count is a better practical cost measure for NFS than other measures that are presumably more realistic. The choice of cost function in [9,12] was done accordingly. The findings of  further support this conservative approach, by going a long way towards closing the gap between the two measures of cost when applied to the NFS: 93% of the gap according to 3.5, and 61% according to 3.6.   Next: Hardware for the matrix Up: Analysis of Bernstein's Factorization Previous: The circuits for integer