I just learned how to lookup a user's info on pgp.mit.edu. Is there some way to determine what algorithm the user is using?
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That's basically right. The details of what algorithm his key-pair is for is actually encoded as part of the public-key itself! That is the public-key is not really a raw key but instead it is packaged a bit to specify some details of the key (minimally the algorithm the key is for) as well as the key bit-string itself.
You can find more by reading about RSA PKCS#1 [published by IETF as RFC3447]: http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc3447#section-3.1