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I learned about the NIST hash function competition which generated SHA3. It says it inspired a Password hashing competition too, which resulted in Argon2.

What I'm wondering is what people generally do to create these entries to the competition. Here is a piece about the SHA3 competition outlining the formal process, but doesn't really say anything about the people competing, what they did to create their functions. I get that they make the algorithm, but what goes into making it is what I'm wondering.

I would like to know how they work roughly, how long it takes them roughly, that kind of stuff. Nothing too involved if it's not possible, I would just like to get a sense of "it takes 2 people 3 years of 8-hour days doing pure math to submit something worthwhile", or "they can do this in a weekend". Or stuff about how they work, if they are just doing trial and error to get all the random magic values or if they have some methodology to the madness.

The coolest would be if one of the finalists or competitors could describe their experience developing the thing, but I don't suspect that will happen :)

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    $\begingroup$ This is way too broad in my opinion. $\endgroup$ – Maeher Feb 7 '19 at 14:12
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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to crypto.stackexchange: As mentioned by Maeher, this is a broad question. We require that questions be specific enough so as to be objectively answerable. How long it took will probably depend greatly on exactly which design you're asking about. We can probably safely say that only doing pure math probably won't land you a winning entry: Entries need to perform well as well as be secure, and you need intimate knowledge of computing hardware to implement and test designs. You also need to spend some time establishing and writing a specification, etc. $\endgroup$ – Ella Rose Feb 7 '19 at 15:11
  • $\begingroup$ Why don't you pick one or two teams and look up the publications of the members? Their publications will tell you where they are employed, what kind of research they did before and with whom they cooperated before.You'll see that the submissions don't come out of thin air, but often are based on prior work of the team members. $\endgroup$ – j.p. Feb 8 '19 at 10:53