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Largest prime number discovered

prime number digits 17425 170

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#1    Still Waters

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 10:12 PM

The largest prime number has been discovered — and it's 17,425,170 digits long. The new prime number crushes the last one discovered in 2008, which was a paltry 12,978,189 digits long.

The number — 2 raised to the 57,885,161 power minus 1 — was discovered by University of Central Missouri mathematician Curtis Cooper as part of a giant network of volunteer computers devoted to finding primes, similar to projects like SETI@Home, which downloads and analyzes radio telescope data in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI).

http://www.nbcnews.c...e/#.URGC6fJw5RM

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#2    sepulchrave

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 02:05 AM

View PostStill Waters, on 05 February 2013 - 10:12 PM, said:

The largest prime number has been discovered
Wow. Just, wow. The largest prime number has been found? Take that, Euclid!

This is another fine example of ``scientific'' ``journalism''.

Heavens, the headline ``Record-setting prime number discovered!'' is just too dull... we should say ``The largest prime number has been discovered''.


#3    Timonthy

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:03 PM

When I first read it I thought that 17,425,170 was then number, then I was all like 'that ain't no prime' and realised what the article was actually saying...

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#4    Rolci

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:28 PM

*eagerly waiting to find out what exactly we are going to use this particular fruit of tons of resources invested*
I mean, surely, there must be a useful application of this finding so all the effort can pay off. It can't have been a waste of enormous amounts of time and resources, can it?


#5    Frank Merton

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:32 PM

Is there no end to it?  Well, no, there isn't.


#6    Asadora

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:50 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 06 February 2013 - 12:32 PM, said:

Is there no end to it?  Well, no, there isn't.

I agree. It may take some time, but eventually there will be an even higher prime number found, and then an even higher number and again even yet a higher number and even yet more still a higher number. We will only find the highest number when we stop searching.

Let's carry on looking!
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#7    Mr Supertypo

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 01:36 PM

thats a great news. Also it show the importance of volunteer network who are a solid foothold in science, not only SETI, but also LHC (large hadron collider) also benefit in some degree from this, and many other programs, ranging from quantum to ecology (type BOINC on google, download and install it and choose some science project you wish to support). A cheap way to get computer power, otherwise will cost millions in hardware, software and technicians.


#8    TheLastLazyGun

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 01:38 PM

Why don't they check to see if the number just a few higher than it - say, four, five or six higher than it  - is also a prime?

Edited by TheLastLazyGun, 06 February 2013 - 01:38 PM.


#9    paperdyer

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 01:39 PM

OK - How is this relevent to anything?  Universities don't have anything better to do?  I realize this was done with volunteers, but something more meaningful would have been nice.


#10    Frank Merton

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 01:41 PM

They do it as an exercise in ways to develop better algorithms.

It would be interesting if someday one of these prime numbers or one of these irrational numbers sent us a message.


#11    TheLastLazyGun

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 01:41 PM

View Postpaperdyer, on 06 February 2013 - 01:39 PM, said:

but something more meaningful would have been nice.

Like what?


#12    Frank Merton

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 01:45 PM

Like maybe God's email address.


#13    TheLastLazyGun

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 02:29 PM

Could it not have been the university's mathematics department which came up with this largest prime number?

Surely that's one of the things that university mathematics departments are supposed to do.

You can't expect a university maths department to come up with a cure for cancer.

Edited by TheLastLazyGun, 06 February 2013 - 02:30 PM.


#14    Nasty Gash

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 04:03 PM

Is it the largest prime number or is it the largest prime number yet found?  There is a very significant difference which apparently the author of the article doesn't understand or isn't careful enough to be bothered with.  Shoddy reporting at its finest.


#15    sepulchrave

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 04:48 PM

View Postpaperdyer, on 06 February 2013 - 01:39 PM, said:

OK - How is this relevent to anything?  Universities don't have anything better to do?  I realize this was done with volunteers, but something more meaningful would have been nice.

Many modern encryption algorithms (like RSA and DSA) that are used to secure computer systems and networks rely on the assumed difficulty of factoring large numbers.

Since every number can be expressed as a product of primes, testing out different algorithms to see how effective they are at finding primes (especially large primes) is a good way of making sure that these encryption schemes are still secure.

Using volunteer computer time to test out prime searching algorithms is a worthwhile task if it means ensuring that the only feasible way to hack online banking information (for example) is by stealing each person's password, rather than cracking the entire encryption framework.





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