Hi tevador,

> On 9 May 2020, at 06:43, tevador <teva...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> For our dynamic PoW system to work, we will need to be able to compare PoW
>> tokens with each other. To do so we define a function:
>>        unsigned effort(uint8_t *token)
>> which takes as its argument a hash output token, and returns the number of
>> leading zero bits on it.
> This definition makes the effort exponential, i.e. the computational resources
> required to reach one notch higher effort increase by a factor of 2 each time.
> I suggest to use linear effort defined as the quotient of dividing a bitstring
> of 1s by the hash value:
> == Example A:
>  effort(00000001100010101101) = 11111111111111111111 / 00000001100010101101
> or in decimal:
>  effort(6317) = 1048575 / 6317 = 165.
> This definition of effort has the advantage of directly expressing the 
> expected
> number of hashes that the client had to calculate to reach the effort.
> With the exponential definition, we could have an equivalent linear effort of
> either 128 (7 leading zeroes) or 256 (8 leading zeroes), while the linear
> definition provides smoother classification of PoW results.

There are two possible issues with this design:

Division is expensive on some platforms, including ARM-based devices.
But there might be a way to calculate an approximate value without division.
(For example, bit shifts, or multiplying by an inverse.) Or we could calculate
the maximum value once, and then re-use it.

Is it still possible to express the full range of difficulties? Is that 
reasonably compact?

Some advantages of this exponential distribution are:
* spurious results can be filtered using a single instruction (a bit mask),
* the expected effort is quick and easy to calculate,
* the effort can be expressed in a compact way.

Maybe we don't need some of these properties, and a linear design would
be fine.

But if we do, we could change the exponent to the square or cube root of
two. There would be a smoother distribution, but a wider range, and the
checks would still be reasonably fast.


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