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).
*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?
We have been given a chance to make things happen, but the instructions didn't include how to make things better.
Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:50 PM
Frank 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!
You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.
-- Franz Kafka
the cigarette smoking man...*cough* *cogh* blaaah *cough*
Joined:28 Jul 2005
Location:hiding in the shadow
Lurking in the shadow, smoking my cigarette...
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.
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.
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.