Journal article

Indiscreet logarithms in finite fields of small characteristic

Recently, several striking advances have taken place regarding the discrete logarithm problem (DLP) in finite fields of small characteristic, despite progress having remained essentially static for nearly thirty years, with the best known algorithms being of subexponential complexity. In this expository article we describe the key insights and constructions which culminated in two independent quasi-polynomial algorithms. To put these developments into both a historical and a mathematical context, as well as to provide a comparison with the cases of so-called large and medium characteristic fields, we give an overview of the state-of-the-art algorithms for computing discrete logarithms in all finite fields. Our presentation aims to guide the reader through the algorithms and their complexity analyses ab initio.

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