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A MIPS-year is perhaps the “standard” measure of computational effort in cryptography: It refers to the amount of work performed, in one year, by a computer operating at the rate of one million operations per second (1 MIPS). The actual type of operation is undefined but assumed to be a “typical” computer operation. A MIPS-year is thus approximately 245 operations. The difficulty of solutions to the the RSA Factoring Challenge as well as challenges involving the Data Encryption Standard is usually given in MIPS-years; for instance, the RSA-512 benchmark took about 8000 MIPS-years, or approximately 258operations, distributed across a large number of computers. (This is somewhat less than the number of operations to search for a 56-bit DES key, as multiple operations are required to test each DES key.) The MIPS-year is a convenient measurement, but not a perfect one. In practice, there is no “typical” computer operation, and the actual difficulty of an effort must also consider other...

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© 2005 International Federation for Information Processing

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Kaliski, B. (2005). MIPS-Year. In: van Tilborg, H.C.A. (eds) Encyclopedia of Cryptography and Security. Springer, Boston, MA .

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