# Fastest semiprime factorization [closed]

Write a program to factorize a semi-prime number in the shortest amount of time.

For testing purposes, use this: $$\38!+1\$$ ($$\523022617466601111760007224100074291200000001\$$)

It is equal to: $$\14029308060317546154181 × 37280713718589679646221\$$

• While I like the "fastest" bit, since it gives languages like C the advantage over typical codegolfing languages, I do wonder how you will test the results? – Mr Lister Oct 7 '12 at 6:37
• If you mean that 12259243 will be used to test how fast the programs are, the results will be so small that you won't get any statistically significant differences. – Peter Taylor Oct 7 '12 at 6:55
• I added a larger number, thx for the heads up. – Soham Chowdhury Oct 7 '12 at 17:28
• inb4 someone uses preprocessor abuse to write a 400 exabyte lookup table. – Wug Oct 9 '12 at 19:47
• I’ve voted to close this question as it fails to meet our standards on fastest-code challenges (namely details on how each program will be tested and scored) – caird coinheringaahing Oct 15 at 2:00

## Python (w/ pypy2 v7.3.1) ~0.9s

Using a Multiple Polynomial Quadratic Sieve. I took this to be a code challenge, so I opted not to use any external libraries (other than the standard log function, I suppose). When timing, the PyPy JIT should be used, as it results in timings 4-5 times faster than that of cPython.

Update (2013-07-29): Since originally posting, I've made several minor, but significant changes which increase the overall speed by a factor of about 2.5x.

Update (2014-08-27): As this post is still receiving attention, I've updated my_math.py correcting two errors, for anyone who may be using it:

• isqrt was faulty, sometimes producing incorrect output for values very close to a perfect square. This has been corrected, and the performance increased by using a much better seed.
• is_prime has been updated. My previous attempt to remove perfect square 2-sprps was half-hearted, at best. I've added a 3-sprp check - a technique used by Mathmatica - to ensure that the tested value is square-free.

Update (2014-11-24): If at the end of the calculation no non-trivial congruencies are found, the progam now sieves additional polynomials. This was previously marked in the code as TODO.

Update (2020-08-29): A few improvements resulting in minor performance gains, including:

• Calculating the average contributation of the skipped primes, rather than roughly approximating.
• Actually sieving powers of the prime factor base. The modular square root of each power can be computed efficiently through use of Hensel Lifting.
• Reusing the sieve array in subsequent iterations, rather than creating a new one.

mpqs.py

import math
import my_math
import time

# assumes n is composite
def mpqs(n, verbose=False):
if verbose:
time1 = time.time()

root_n = my_math.isqrt(n)
root_2n = my_math.isqrt(n+n)

# formula chosen by experimentation
# seems to be close to optimal for n < 10^50
bound = int(7.5 * math.log(n, 10)**2)

prime = []
mod_root = []
log_p = []
num_prime = 0

# size of the sieve
x_max = bound * 5
x_max_2 = x_max+x_max

# maximum value on the sieved range
m_val = (x_max * root_2n) >> 1

# find a number of small primes for which n is a quadratic residue
pg = my_math.primes()
p = pg.next()
while p < bound or num_prime < 3:

# legendre (n|p) is only defined for odd p
if p > 2:
leg = my_math.legendre(n, p)
else:
leg = n & 1

if leg == 1:
prime += [p]
log_p += [math.log(p, 10)]
r = int(my_math.mod_sqrt(n, p))
roots = [r]
q = p
while q < x_max:
# find all square roots mod p^n via Hensel Lifting
r = int((r + (n - r*r)*my_math.mod_inv(r+r, q))%q)
#assert r*r%q == n%q
roots += [r]
q *= p
mod_root += [roots]
num_prime += 1
elif leg == 0:
if verbose:
print 'trial division found factors:'
print p, 'x', n/p
return p

p = pg.next()

# fudging the threshold down a bit makes it easier to find powers of partial-partial
# relationships, but it also makes the smoothness check slower. reducing by twice the log
# of the largest prime in the factor base results in cofactors less than that value squared
thresh = math.log(m_val, 10) - log_p[-1]*2

# skip small primes. they contribute very little to the log sum
# and add a lot of unnecessary entries to the table
# instead, fudge the threshold down a bit, according to expected number of factors
min_prime = int(thresh*2)
sp_idx = my_math.binary_search(prime, min_prime)
sieve_primes = prime[sp_idx:]

fudge = sum([log_p[i]/(prime[i]-1) for i in xrange(sp_idx)])

sums = [fudge]*x_max_2

if verbose:
print 'smoothness bound:', bound
print 'sieve size:', x_max
print 'log threshold:', thresh
print 'skipping primes less than:', min_prime

smooth = []
used_prime = set()
partial = {}
num_smooth = 0
prev_num_smooth = 0
num_used_prime = 0
num_partial = 0
num_poly = 0
root_A = my_math.isqrt(root_2n / x_max)

if verbose:
print 'sieving for smooths...'
while True:
# find an integer value A such that:
# A is =~ sqrt(2*n) / x_max
# A is a perfect square
# sqrt(A) is prime, and n is a quadratic residue mod sqrt(A)
while True:
root_A = my_math.next_prime(root_A)
leg = my_math.legendre(n, root_A)
if leg == 1:
break
elif leg == 0:
if verbose:
print 'dumb luck found factors:'
print root_A, 'x', n/root_A
return root_A

A = root_A * root_A

# solve for an adequate B
# B*B is a quadratic residue mod n, such that B*B-A*C = n
# this is unsolvable if n is not a quadratic residue mod sqrt(A)
b = my_math.mod_sqrt(n, root_A)
B = (b + (n - b*b) * my_math.mod_inv(b + b, root_A))%A

# B*B-A*C = n <=> C = (B*B-n)/A
C = (B*B - n) / A

num_poly += 1

# sieve for prime factors
i = sp_idx
for p in sieve_primes:
logp = log_p[i]

e = 0
q = p
while q < x_max:
inv_A = my_math.mod_inv(A, q)
# modular root of the quadratic
a = int(((mod_root[i][e] - B) * inv_A)%q)
b = int(((q - mod_root[i][e] - B) * inv_A)%q)

amx = a+x_max
bmx = b+x_max

apx = amx-q
bpx = bmx-q

k = q
while k < x_max:
sums[apx+k] += logp
sums[bpx+k] += logp
sums[amx-k] += logp
sums[bmx-k] += logp
k += q

q *= p
e += 1

i += 1

# check for smooths
x = -x_max
i = 0
while i < x_max_2:
v = sums[i]
if v > thresh:
vec = set()
sqr = []
# because B*B-n = A*C
# (A*x+B)^2 - n = A*A*x*x+2*A*B*x + B*B - n
#               = A*(A*x*x+2*B*x+C)
# gives the congruency
# (A*x+B)^2 = A*(A*x*x+2*B*x+C) (mod n)
# because A is chosen to be square, it doesn't need to be sieved
sieve_val = (A*x + B+B)*x + C

if sieve_val < 0:
vec = {-1}
sieve_val = -sieve_val

for p in prime:
while sieve_val%p == 0:
if p in vec:
# keep track of perfect square factors
# to avoid taking the sqrt of a gigantic number at the end
sqr += [p]
vec ^= {p}
sieve_val = int(sieve_val / p)

if sieve_val == 1:
# smooth
smooth += [(vec, (sqr, (A*x+B), root_A))]
used_prime |= vec
elif sieve_val in partial:
# combine two partials to make a (xor) smooth
# that is, every prime factor with an odd power is in our factor base
pair_vec, pair_vals = partial[sieve_val]
sqr += list(vec & pair_vec) + [sieve_val]
vec ^= pair_vec
smooth += [(vec, (sqr + pair_vals[0], (A*x+B)*pair_vals[1], root_A*pair_vals[2]))]
used_prime |= vec
num_partial += 1
else:
# save partial for later pairing
partial[sieve_val] = (vec, (sqr, A*x+B, root_A))
x += 1

# reset the value for the next go
sums[i] = fudge
i += 1

prev_num_smooth = num_smooth
num_smooth = len(smooth)
num_used_prime = len(used_prime)

if verbose:
print 100 * num_smooth / num_prime, 'percent complete\r',

if num_smooth > num_used_prime and num_smooth > prev_num_smooth:
if verbose:
print '%d polynomials sieved (%d values)'%(num_poly, num_poly*x_max_2)
print 'found %d smooths (%d from partials) in %.3f seconds'%(num_smooth, num_partial, time.time()-time1)
print 'solving for non-trivial congruencies...'

# set up bit fields for gaussian elimination
bit_fields = [0]*num_used_prime
for vec, vals in smooth:
i = 0
for p in used_prime:
if p in vec: bit_fields[i] |= mask
i += 1

# row echelon form
col_offset = 0
null_cols = []
for col in xrange(num_smooth):
pivot = col-col_offset == num_used_prime or bit_fields[col-col_offset] & masks[col] == 0
for row in xrange(col+1-col_offset, num_used_prime):
if pivot:
bit_fields[col-col_offset], bit_fields[row] = bit_fields[row], bit_fields[col-col_offset]
pivot = False
else:
bit_fields[row] ^= bit_fields[col-col_offset]
if pivot:
null_cols += [col]
col_offset += 1

# reduced row echelon form
for row in xrange(num_used_prime):
# lowest set bit
for up_row in xrange(row):
bit_fields[up_row] ^= bit_fields[row]

# check for non-trivial congruencies
for col in null_cols:
all_vec, (lh, rh, rA) = smooth[col]
lhs = lh   # sieved values (left hand side)
rhs = [rh] # sieved values - n (right hand side)
rAs = [rA] # root_As (cofactor of lhs)
i = 0
for field in bit_fields:
vec, (lh, rh, rA) = smooth[i]
lhs += list(all_vec & vec) + lh
all_vec ^= vec
rhs += [rh]
rAs += [rA]
i += 1

factor = my_math.gcd(my_math.list_prod(rAs)*my_math.list_prod(lhs) - my_math.list_prod(rhs), n)
if 1 < factor < n:
break
else:
if verbose:
print 'none found.'
continue
break

if verbose:
print 'factors found:'
print factor, 'x', n/factor
print 'time elapsed: %.3f seconds'%(time.time()-time1)
return factor

if __name__ == "__main__":
import argparse
parser = argparse.ArgumentParser(description='Uses a MPQS to factor a composite number')
parser.add_argument('composite', metavar='number_to_factor', type=long, help='the composite number to factor')
parser.add_argument('--verbose', dest='verbose', action='store_true', help="enable verbose output")
args = parser.parse_args()

if args.verbose:
mpqs(args.composite, args.verbose)
else:
time1 = time.time()
print mpqs(args.composite)
print 'time elapsed: %.3f seconds'%(time.time()-time1)


my_math.py

# primes less than 212
small_primes = [
2,  3,  5,  7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29, 31, 37,
41, 43, 47, 53, 59, 61, 67, 71, 73, 79, 83, 89,
97,101,103,107,109,113,127,131,137,139,149,151,
157,163,167,173,179,181,191,193,197,199,211]

# pre-calced sieve of eratosthenes for n = 2, 3, 5, 7
indices = [
1, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29, 31, 37, 41, 43, 47,
53, 59, 61, 67, 71, 73, 79, 83, 89, 97,101,103,
107,109,113,121,127,131,137,139,143,149,151,157,
163,167,169,173,179,181,187,191,193,197,199,209]

# distances between sieve values
offsets = [
10, 2, 4, 2, 4, 6, 2, 6, 4, 2, 4, 6,
6, 2, 6, 4, 2, 6, 4, 6, 8, 4, 2, 4,
2, 4, 8, 6, 4, 6, 2, 4, 6, 2, 6, 6,
4, 2, 4, 6, 2, 6, 4, 2, 4, 2,10, 2]

# tabulated, mod 105
dindices =[
0,10, 2, 0, 4, 0, 0, 0, 8, 0, 0, 2, 0, 4, 0,
0, 6, 2, 0, 4, 0, 0, 4, 6, 0, 0, 6, 0, 0, 2,
0, 6, 2, 0, 4, 0, 0, 4, 6, 0, 0, 2, 0, 4, 2,
0, 6, 6, 0, 0, 0, 0, 6, 6, 0, 0, 0, 0, 4, 2,
0, 6, 2, 0, 4, 0, 0, 4, 6, 0, 0, 2, 0, 6, 2,
0, 6, 0, 0, 4, 0, 0, 4, 6, 0, 0, 2, 0, 4, 8,
0, 0, 2, 0,10, 0, 0, 4, 0, 0, 0, 2, 0, 4, 2]

max_int = 2147483647

# returns the index of x in a sorted list a
# or the index of the next larger item if x is not present
# i.e. the proper insertion point for x in a
def binary_search(a, x):
s = 0
e = len(a)
m = e >> 1
while m != e:
if a[m] < x:
s = m
m = (s + e + 1) >> 1
else:
e = m
m = (s + e) >> 1
return m

# divide and conquer list product
def list_prod(a):
while len(a) > 1:
a = [m*n for m,n in zip(a[::2], a[1::2] + [1])]
return a[0]

# greatest common divisor of a and b
def gcd(a, b):
while b:
a, b = b, a%b
return a

# extended gcd
def ext_gcd(a, m):
a = int(a%m)
x, u = 0, 1
while a:
x, u = u, x - (m/a)*u
m, a = a, m%a
return (m, x, u)

# legendre symbol (a|m)
# note: returns m-1 if a is a non-residue, instead of -1
def legendre(a, m):
return pow(a, (m-1) >> 1, m)

# modular inverse of a mod m
def mod_inv(a, m):
return ext_gcd(a, m)[1]

# modular sqrt(n) mod p
# p must be prime
def mod_sqrt(n, p):
a = n%p
if p%4 == 3:
return pow(a, (p+1) >> 2, p)
elif p%8 == 5:
v = pow(a << 1, (p-5) >> 3, p)
i = ((a*v*v << 1) % p) - 1
return (a*v*i)%p
elif p%8 == 1:
# Shanks' method
q = p-1
e = 0
while q&1 == 0:
e += 1
q >>= 1

n = 2
while legendre(n, p) != p-1:
n += 1

w = pow(a, q, p)
x = pow(a, (q+1) >> 1, p)
y = pow(n, q, p)
r = e
while True:
if w == 1:
return x

v = w
k = 0
while v != 1 and k+1 < r:
v = (v*v)%p
k += 1

if k == 0:
return x

d = pow(y, 1 << (r-k-1), p)
x = (x*d)%p
y = (d*d)%p
w = (w*y)%p
r = k
else: # p == 2
return a

#integer sqrt of n
def isqrt(n):
c = (n << 2)/3
d = c.bit_length()

a = d>>1
if d&1:
x = 1 << a
y = (x + (n >> a)) >> 1
else:
x = (3 << a) >> 2
y = (x + (c >> a)) >> 1

if x != y:
x = y
y = (x + n/x) >> 1
while y < x:
x = y
y = (x + n/x) >> 1
return x

# integer cbrt of n
def icbrt(n):
d = n.bit_length()

if d%3 == 2:
x = 3 << d/3-1
else:
x = 1 << d/3

y = (2*x + n/(x*x))/3
if x != y:
x = y
y = (2*x + n/(x*x))/3
while y < x:
x = y
y = (2*x + n/(x*x))/3
return x

# strong probable prime
def is_sprp(n, b=2):
if n < 2: return False
d = n-1
s = 0
while d&1 == 0:
s += 1
d >>= 1

x = pow(b, d, n)
if x == 1 or x == n-1:
return True

for r in xrange(1, s):
x = (x * x)%n
if x == 1:
return False
elif x == n-1:
return True

return False

# lucas probable prime
# assumes D = 1 (mod 4), (D|n) = -1
def is_lucas_prp(n, D):
P = 1
Q = (1-D) >> 2

# n+1 = 2**r*s where s is odd
s = n+1
r = 0
while s&1 == 0:
r += 1
s >>= 1

# calculate the bit reversal of (odd) s
# e.g. 19 (10011) <=> 25 (11001)
t = 0
while s:
if s&1:
t += 1
s -= 1
else:
t <<= 1
s >>= 1

# use the same bit reversal process to calculate the sth Lucas number
# keep track of q = Q**n as we go
U = 0
V = 2
q = 1
# mod_inv(2, n)
inv_2 = (n+1) >> 1
while t:
if t&1:
# U, V of n+1
U, V = ((U + V) * inv_2)%n, ((D*U + V) * inv_2)%n
q = (q * Q)%n
t -= 1
else:
# U, V of n*2
U, V = (U * V)%n, (V * V - 2 * q)%n
q = (q * q)%n
t >>= 1

# double s until we have the 2**r*sth Lucas number
while r:
U, V = (U * V)%n, (V * V - 2 * q)%n
q = (q * q)%n
r -= 1

# primality check
# if n is prime, n divides the n+1st Lucas number, given the assumptions
return U == 0

## Baillie-PSW ##
# this is technically a probabalistic test, but there are no known pseudoprimes
def is_bpsw(n):
if not is_sprp(n, 2): return False

# idea shamelessly stolen from Mathmatica's PrimeQ
# if n is a 2-sprp and a 3-sprp, n is necessarily square-free
if not is_sprp(n, 3): return False

a = 5
s = 2
# if n is a perfect square, this will never terminate
while legendre(a, n) != n-1:
s = -s
a = s-a
return is_lucas_prp(n, a)

# an 'almost certain' primality check
def is_prime(n):
if n < 212:
m = binary_search(small_primes, n)
return n == small_primes[m]

for p in small_primes:
if n%p == 0:
return False

# if n is a 32-bit integer, perform full trial division
if n <= max_int:
p = 211
while p*p < n:
for o in offsets:
p += o
if n%p == 0:
return False
return True

return is_bpsw(n)

# next prime strictly larger than n
def next_prime(n):
if n < 2:
return 2

n += 1
if n < 212:
m = binary_search(small_primes, n)
return small_primes[m]

# find our position in the sieve rotation via binary search
x = int(n%210)
m = binary_search(indices, x)
i = int(n + (indices[m] - x))

offs = offsets[m:] + offsets[:m]
while True:
for o in offs:
if is_prime(i):
return i
i += o

# an infinite prime number generator
def primes(start = 0):
for n in small_primes[start:]: yield n
pg = primes(6)
p = pg.next()
q = p*p
sieve = {221: 13, 253: 11}
n = 211
while True:
for o in offsets:
n += o
stp = sieve.pop(n, 0)
if stp:
nxt = n/stp
nxt += dindices[nxt%105]
while nxt*stp in sieve:
nxt += dindices[nxt%105]
sieve[nxt*stp] = stp
elif n < q:
yield n
else:
sieve[q + dindices[p%105]*p] = p
p = pg.next()
q = p*p

# true if n is a prime power > 0
def is_prime_power(n):
if n > 1:
for p in small_primes:
if n%p == 0:
n /= p
while n%p == 0: n /= p
return n == 1

r = isqrt(n)
if r*r == n:
return is_prime_power(r)

s = icbrt(n)
if s*s*s == n:
return is_prime_power(s)

p = 211
while p*p < r:
for o in offsets:
p += o
if n%p == 0:
n /= p
while n%p == 0: n /= p
return n == 1

if n <= max_int:
while p*p < n:
for o in offsets:
p += o
if n%p == 0:
return False
return True

return is_bpsw(n)
return False


Sample I/O:

$pypy mpqs.py --verbose 523022617466601111760007224100074291200000001 smoothness bound: 14998 sieve size: 74990 log threshold: 18.7325510316 skipping primes less than: 37 sieving for smooths... 230 polynomials sieved (34495400 values) found 849 smooths (242 from partials) in 0.786 seconds solving for non-trivial congruencies... factors found: 37280713718589679646221 x 14029308060317546154181 time elapsed: 1.011 seconds  Note: not using the --verbose option will give slightly better timings: $ pypy mpqs.py 523022617466601111760007224100074291200000001
37280713718589679646221
time elapsed: 0.902 seconds


### Basic Concepts

In general, a quadratic sieve is based on the following observation: any odd composite $$\n\$$ may be represented as:

$$\n=(x+d)(x-d)=x^2-d^2\Rightarrow d^2=x^2-n\$$

This is not very difficult to confirm. Since $$\n\$$ is odd, the distance between any two cofactors of $$\n\$$ must be even $$\2d\$$, where $$\x\$$ is the mid point between them. Moreover, the same relation holds for any multiple of $$\n\$$

$$\abn=(ax+ad)(bx-bd)=abx^2-abd^2\Rightarrow abd^2=abx^2-abn\$$

Note that if any such $$\x\$$ and $$\d\$$ can be found, it will immediately result in a (not necessarily prime) factor of $$\n\$$, since $$\x+d\$$ and $$\x-d\$$ both divide $$\n\$$ by definition. This relation can be further weakened - at the consequence of allowing potential trivial congruencies - to the following form:

$$\d^2\equiv x^2\mod n\$$

So in general, if we can find two perfect squares which are equivalent mod $$\n\$$, then it's fairly likely that we can directly produce a factor of $$\n\$$ a la $$\\gcd(x±d,n)\$$. Seems pretty simple, right?

Except it's not. If we intended to conduct an exhaustive search over all possible $$\x\$$, we would need to search the entire range from $$\\sqrt{n}\$$ to $$\\sqrt{2n}\$$, which is marginally smaller than full trial division, but also requires an expensive is_square operation each iteration to confirm the value of $$\d\$$. Unless it is known beforehand that $$\n\$$ has factors very near $$\\sqrt{n}\$$, trial division is likely to be faster.

Perhaps we can weaken this relation even more. Suppose we chose an $$\x\$$, such that for

$$\y\equiv x^2\mod n\$$

a full prime factorization of $$\y\$$ is readily known. If we had enough such relations, we should be able to construct an adequate $$\d\$$, if we choose a number of $$\y\$$ such that their product is a perfect square; that is, all prime factors are used an even number of times. In fact, if we have more such $$\y\$$ than the total number of unique prime factors they contain, a solution is guaranteed to exist; It becomes a system of linear equations. The question now becomes, how do we chose such $$\x\$$? That's where sieving comes into play.

### The Sieve

Consider the polynomial:

$$\y(x)=x^2-n\$$

Then for any prime $$\p\$$ and integer $$\k\$$, the following is true:

$$\y(x+kp)=(x+kp)^2-n\\y(x+kp)=x^2+2xkp+(kp)^2-n\\y(x+kp)=y(x)+2xkp+(kp)^2\equiv y(x)\mod p\$$

This means that after solving for the roots of the polynomial mod $$\p\$$ - that is, you've found an $$\x\$$ such that $$\y(x)\equiv 0\mod p\$$, ergo $$\y\$$ is divisible by $$\p\$$ - then you have found an infinite number of such $$\x\$$. In this way, you can sieve over a range of $$\x\$$, identifying small prime factors of $$\y\$$, hopefully finding some for which all prime factors are small. Such numbers known as $$\k-smooth\$$, where $$\k\$$ is the largest prime factor used.

There's a few problems with this approach, though. Not all values of $$\x\$$ are adequate, in fact, there's only very few of them, centered around $$\\sqrt{n}\$$. Smaller values will become largely negative (due to the $$\-n\$$ term), and larger values will become too large, such that it is unlikely that their prime factorization consists only of small primes. There will be a number of such $$\x\$$, but unless the composite you're factoring is very small, it's highly unlikely that you'll find enough smooths to result in a factorization. And so, for larger $$\n\$$, it becomes necessary to sieve over multiple polynomials of a given form.

### Multiple Polynomials

$$\y(x)=(Ax+B)^2-n\$$

That'll work. Note that $$\A\$$ and $$\B\$$ could literally be any integer value, and the math still holds. All we need to do is choose a few random values, solve for the root of the polynomial, and sieve the values close to zero. At this point we could just call it good enough: if you throw enough stones in random directions, you're bound to break a window sooner or later.

Except, there's a problem with that too. If the slope of the polynomial is large at the x-intercept, there'll only be a few suitable values to sieve per polynomial. It'll work, but you'll end up sieving a whole lot of polynomials before you get what you need. Can we do better?

We can do better. An observation, as a result of Montgomery is as follows: if $$\A\$$ and $$\B\$$ are chosen such that there exists some $$\C\$$ satisfying

$$\B^2-n=AC\$$

then the entire polynomial can be rewritten as

$$\y(x)=(Ax+B)^2-n=(Ax)^2+2ABx+B^2-n=A(Ax^2+2Bx+C)\$$

Furthermore, if $$\A\$$ is chosen to be a perfect square, the leading $$\A\$$ term can be neglected while sieving, resulting in much smaller values, and a much flatter curve. For such a solution to exist, $$\n\$$ must be a quadratic residue mod $$\\sqrt{A}\$$, which can be known immediately by computing the Legendre symbol: $$\(n|\sqrt{A})=1\$$. Note that in order to solve for $$\B\$$, a complete prime factorization of $$\\sqrt{A}\$$ needs to be known (in order to take the modular square root $$\\sqrt{n}\mod\sqrt{A}\$$), which is why $$\\sqrt{A}\$$ is typically chosen to be prime.

It can then be shown that if $$\A\approx\frac{\sqrt{2n}}{M}\$$, then for all values of $$\x\in[-M,M]\$$:

$$\|y(x)|\le\frac{M\sqrt{2n}}{2}\$$

And now, finally, we have all the components necessary to implement our sieve. Or do we?

### Powers of Primes as Factors

Our sieve, as described above, has one major flaw. It can identify which values of $$\x\$$ will result in a $$\y\$$ divisible by $$\p\$$, but it cannot identify whether or not this $$\y\$$ is divisible by a power of $$\p\$$. In order to determine that, we would need to perform trial division on the value to be sieved, until it is no longer divisible by $$\p\$$.

Edit: This is incorrect. The roots of $$\n\$$ mod $$\p^k\$$ can be computed directly from the roots mod $$\p\$$ through the use of Hensel Lifting. This current implementation does precisely this.

We seemed to have reached an impasse: the whole point of the sieve was so that we didn't have to do that. Time to check the playbook.

$$\\ln(a\cdot b\cdot c\cdot d\cdot\ldots)=\ln(a)+\ln(b)+\ln(c)+\ln(d)+\ln(\ldots)\$$

That looks pretty useful. If the sum of the $$\\ln\$$ of all of the small prime factors of $$\y\$$ is close to the expected value of $$\\ln(y)\$$, then it's almost a given that $$\y\$$ has no other factors. In addition, if we adjust the expected value down a little bit, we can also identify values as smooth which have several powers of primes as factors. In this way, we can use the sieve as a 'pre-screening' process, and only factor those values which are likely to be smooth.

This has a few other advantages as well. Note that small primes contribute very little to the $$\\ln\$$ sum, but yet they require the most sieve time. Sieving the value 3 requires more time than 11, 13, 17, 19, and 23 combined. Instead, we can just skip the first few primes, and adjust the threshold down accordingly, assuming a certain percentage of them would have passed.

Another result, is that a number of values will be allowed to 'slip through', which are mostly smooth, but contain a single large cofactor. We could just discard these values, but suppose we found another mostly smooth value, with exactly the same cofactor. We can then use these two values to construct a usable $$\y\$$; since their product will contain this large cofactor squared, it no longer needs to be considered.

### Putting it all together

The last thing we need to do is to use these values of $$\y\$$ construct an adequate $$\x\$$ and $$\d\$$. Suppose we only consider the non-square factors of $$\y\$$, that is, the prime factors of an odd power. Then, each $$\y\$$ can be expressed in the following manner:

$$\y_0=p_0^0\cdot p_1^1\cdot p_2^1\cdots p_n^0\\y_1=p_0^1\cdot p_1^0\cdot p_2^1\cdots p_n^1\\y_2=p_0^0\cdot p_1^0\cdot p_2^0\cdots p_n^1\\y_3=p_0^1\cdot p_1^1\cdot p_2^0\cdots p_n^0\\\vdots\$$

which can be expressed in the matrix form:

$$\M=\begin{bmatrix}0&1&1&\cdots&0\\1&0&1&\cdots&1\\0&0&0&\cdots&1\\1&1&0&\cdots&0\\\vdots\end{bmatrix}\$$

The problem then becomes to find a vector $$\v\$$ such that $$\vM=\vec{0}\mod 2\$$, where $$\\vec{0}\$$ is the null vector. That is, to solve for the left null space of $$\M\$$. This can be done in a number of ways, the simplest of which is to perform Gaussian Elimination on $$\M^T\$$, replacing the row addition operation with a row xor. This will result in a number of null space basis vectors, any combination of which will produce a valid solution.

The construction of $$\x\$$ is fairly straight-forward. It is simply the product of $$\Ax+B\$$ for each of the $$\y\$$ used. The construction of $$\d\$$ is slightly more complicated. If we were to take the product of all $$\y\$$, we will end up with a value with 10s of thousands, if not 100s of thousands of digits, for which we need to find the square root. This calcuation is impractically expensive. Instead, we can keep track of the even powers of primes during the sieving process, and then use and and xor operations on the vectors of non-square factors to reconstruct the square root.

I seem to have reached the 30000 character limit. Ahh well, I suppose that's good enough. Saved a bunch of bytes by switching to $$\MathJax\$$.

• Well, I never passed algebra in high school ( actually dropped out during the first semester of freshmen year ), but you make it simple to understand from a programmer's perspective. I won't pretend to fully understand it without putting it into practice, but I applaud you. You should consider expanding this post off-site and publishing it, seriously! – jdstankosky Nov 27 '12 at 14:08
• I agree. Excellent answer with a great explanation. +1 – Soham Chowdhury Nov 28 '12 at 7:45
• @primo Your answers to multiple questions on here have been incredibly thorough and interesting. Much appreciated! – Paul Walls Dec 10 '12 at 23:12
• As a last remark, I would like to express my gratitude to Will Ness for awarding the +100 bounty on this question. It was literally his entire reputation. – primo Dec 11 '12 at 17:59
• @StepHen it does. Unfortunately, it uses the original version from 2012, without the speed improvements, and with a bug in in the gaussian elimination (errors when the final column is a pivot column). I attempted to contact the author some time ago, but received no response. – primo Aug 21 '17 at 6:30

# Wolfram Language (Mathematica), 0.34 sec

FactorInteger


Try it online!

• Impressive speed! It will be to see if anyone can beat it. – user9207 Aug 24 at 20:33
• *interesting to see... – user9207 Aug 24 at 20:45

Well, your 38!+1 broke my php script, not sure why. In fact, any semi-prime over 16 digits long breaks my script.

However, using 8980935344490257 ( 86028157 * 104395301 ) my script managed a time of 25.963 seconds on my home computer (2.61GHz AMD Phenom 9950). A lot faster than my work computer which was nearly 31 seconds @ 2.93GHz Core 2 Duo.

php - 757 chars incl. new lines

<?php
function getTime() {
$t = explode( ' ', microtime() );$t = $t[1] +$t[0];
return $t; } function isDecimal($val){ return is_numeric($val) && floor($val) != $val;}$start = getTime();
$semi_prime = 8980935344490257;$slice      = round(strlen($semi_prime)/2);$max        = (pow(10, ($slice))-1);$i          = 3;
echo "\nFactoring the semi-prime:\n$semi_prime\n\n"; while ($i < $max) {$sec_factor = ($semi_prime/$i);
if (isDecimal($sec_factor) != 1) {$mod_f = bcmod($i, 1);$mod_s = bcmod($sec_factor, 1); if ($mod_f == 0 && $mod_s == 0) { echo "First factor =$i\n";
echo "Second factor = $sec_factor\n";$end=getTime();
$xtime=round($end-$start,4).' seconds'; echo "\n$xtime\n";
exit();
}
}
\$i += 2;
}
?>


I'd be interested to see this same algorithm in c or some other compiled language.

• PHP's numbers have only 53 bits precision, roughly 16 decimal digits – copy Nov 3 '12 at 21:31
• Implementing the same algorithm in C++ using 64 bit integers only took about 1.8 seconds to run on my computer. There are several problems with this approach though: 1. It can't handle large enough numbers. 2. Even if it could & assuming all numbers, no matter the length, used the same amount of time for trial division, every order of magnitude increase would result in an equivalent amount of time increase. Since your first factor is about 14 orders of magnitude smaller than the given first factor, this algorithm would take over 9 million years to factor the given semiprime. – CasaDeRobison Nov 4 '12 at 6:21
• I'm not the best at math, admittedly, but for very large numbers, standard methods of factoring semi-primes will simply not work (using an elipse, etc.), as far as I know. With that in mind, how could the algorithm itself be improved? – jdstankosky Nov 5 '12 at 14:27
• The Sieve of Eratosthenes starts with a list of number, then removes all multiples of 2, and then 3, and then 5, and then 7, etc. What remains after the sieve is complete are only prime numbers. This sieve can be 'pre-calced' for a certain number of factors. Because lcm(2, 3, 5, 7) == 210, the pattern of numbers eliminated by these factors will repeat every 210 numbers, and only 48 remain. In that way, you can eliminate 77% of all numbers from trial division, instead of the 50% by taking only odds. – primo Nov 27 '12 at 15:26
• @primo Out of curiosity, how much time did you devote to this? It would have taken me ages to think of this stuff. At the time I wrote this, I was only thinking about how prime numbers were always odd. I didn't attempt to go beyond that and eliminate non-prime odds as well. It seems so simple in retrospect. – jdstankosky Nov 27 '12 at 17:39

# Pari/GP, 0.21s

factor(input())


Pari/GP seems to be slightly more performant in this task than Mathmatica.

Try it online!

• Yes yes... But we want some new code :) – user9207 Aug 27 at 12:06